Identified a spanish meteorite fallen in 1931, Ardón
The rock, which is an ordinary chondrite, has been recognized as a meteorite fall by the Meteoritical Society

An international team led by the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC) has characterized a new meteorite fallen in Spain recovered after being hidden for 83 years. This is an L6 group ordinary chondrite from an unknown asteroid that has been named Ardón, the village from the municipality of Leon where it fell, and its characterization has allowed it to be recognized as new fall by the Meteoritical Society.

On July 9, 1931, at 9.30 am, Rosa González Pérez, then a11 years old girl, heard a big noise that emerged from a cloud of dust. Just before her felt from the sky a small steaming rock and when she picked it she noticed that the rock was still hot. Through ignorance, she did not comment anything about the rock and put it in a box, preserving it in a very good condition for more than 80 years.

In 2013, the owners of the rock contacted the researcher Josep Maria Trigo, from the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC). Trigo with Jordi Llorca of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia began the characterization, and realized that it was a primitive meteorite: an ordinary chondrite from an unknown asteroid. Scientists then began the chemical and mineralogical analysis required to classify and name the meteorite, formalities necessary for it to be cataloged by the Meteoritical Society, international professional body responsible for this work. Once the process is complete, the owners have donated a section of the specimen to the National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, Madrid.

The fall of Ardón might not be an isolated case since the number of meteorite falls in Spain is much lower than the statistics suggest. “Studies of big bolides that generate meteorites indicate that, on average, should take place annually in Spain the fall of a meteorite with a mass of more than one kilogram,” says Trigo.

Researchers suspect that some meteorites could be hidden as family secrets or be sold to end up in private collections of the whole track is lost. In that sense, the Law of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity 2007 recognizes that Spanish meteorites are geological heritage, and therefore must be preserved and remain in the country.

The study of the meteorite Ardón is allowing know the processes that occurred during the formation of the solar system but also during thermal processing which suffered its parent asteroid. “Ardón is a very interesting meteorite because it comes from a primitive asteroid, but given its larger dimensions, its minerals were altered by thermal metamorphism. It also presents clear evidence of the crash processes occurring in that asteroid while in it was in orbit around the Sun.”, says Trigo.

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Generalitat de CatalunyaUniversitat de BarcelonaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasCentres de Recerca de Catalunya