On Sunday, 5th May 1991 at 11.30 hours a small meteorite landed in the back garden of Mr. Arthur Pettifor’s bungalow on High Haden Road. At the time Mr. Pettifor was planting out his onion bed. In an adjacent garden a neighbour was also undertaking some gardening work when he heard the sound of something falling through a nearby hedge of conifers in Mr. Pettifor’s garden. Shouting to Mr. Pettifor, to make him aware, the two men then noticed some fresh damage to the hedgerow and underneath a small rock approximately 100 x 60 x 60 mm in size. The rock was warm to the touch and both men realised that it must be a meteorite.
Following notification to local TV, various specialists from The Open University and The Natural History Museum arrived to inspect the fall.
The technicalities are:
Size: 100 x 60 x 60 mm
Weight: 767 grams
Shape: roughly conical.
It has a thin fusion crust – about 0.3 mm thick which is matt brown in colour. Following the accidental dropping at a later date, a small section was broken off, exposing a grey-white matrix with rounded chondrules and flecks of nickel-iron.
The National History Museum, where the meteorite is now housed, has classified it as an L6 chondrite. Chondrites are stony meteorites and are the largest group, the other two being iron and stony-iron.
L classification is given to Low iron content. The number 6 refers to the degree of alteration to the chondrules, small spheres of formerly melted minerals that have come together with other minerals to form a solid rock. The meteorite contains 23% iron, including 5% nickel-iron, with the main mineral being 24% olivine and some pyroxine. Space age has been assessed at about 4 million years!
The meteorite will be returning to Glatton for display at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It will be reunited with the village for the afternoon of the 2nd June 2012 and Dr. Smith, from the Natural History Museum, will be bringing a laptop with a running commentary on Meteorites. Glatton Diamond Jubilee (courtesy of Martin Goff MSG Meteorites).