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    VALERA METEORITE - AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IMPACT KILLED THE DINOSAURS... AND A VENEZUELAN COW - A SECTION OF THE ONLY METEORITE DOCUMENTED TO RESULT IN A FATAL IMPACT
    L5
    Trujillo, Venezuela
    On the evening of October 15, 1972 farmhands in Trujillo, Venezuela were startled by an inexplicable sonic boom. The next morning, the owner of the farm, physician Argimiro Gonzalez, was directed to a dead cow whose neck and shoulder were pulverized. Alongside the cow was a large unusual rock. It was clear to Dr. Gonzalez what had occurred, but he didn't think anything of it as it seemed natural that large locks falling out of the sky would occasionally result in deaths, and so the small boulder was set aside and used as a doorstop. Many years' later scientists confirmed what Dr. Gonzalez had long presumed - the boulder was indeed a meteorite. What Dr. Gonzalez didn't know was that this is the first and only documented fatal meteorite impact. When Dr. Ignacio Ferrin, an astronomer at the University of the Andes, learned of the meteorite which scientists on the Meteoritical Society's Nomenclature Committee named Valera, he visited the Gonzalez estate and was able to contact a witness to the events of October 15-16. Dr. Ferrin purchased Valera and obtained an affidavit provided by the witness and notarized by the Ministry of Justice - a copy of which is provided with this offering:

    I, Juan Dionicio Delgado, Venezuelan, identified by the National Identity Document No. 5.030.450, hereby declare in this document that at the end of 1972, I was visiting the farm "El Tinajero" owned by Argimiro Gonzalez, deceased, which was located at the boundary of the states of Barinas and Trujillo. It was past midnight when we were talking, and there was a strange noise. When we went out to investigate due to the dark of the night we saw nothing. But the next morning a worker came to say that there was a cow killed under strange circumstances. When we went to investigate we found that the cow had been killed by a stone that presumably fell from the sky the night before, causing the noise we had been unable to explain. The stone, broken in several pieces, was kept by Dr. Gonzalez, while the cow was eaten over the following days. These are the facts, as expressed in Barinas, the eleventh day of January 2001.

    Juan Delgado

    One of just three Venezuelan meteorites, this softly rectangular specimen of Valera is polished on one face and is covered with fusion crust on a second face. It exhibits a richly-hued variegated matrix abundant in chondrules (spherical inclusions of silica) and sparkling metallic grains. An engaging specimen of a lively bit of extraterrestrial real estate - and deadliest of meteorites. Accompanied by a custom armature with Lucite cover. 69 x 63 x 34 mm (2.75 x 2.5 x 1.33 inches) and 309.8 grams (.66 pounds).

    Provenance: The Macovich Collection of Meteorites.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    12th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,935

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    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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