Willamette Meteorite The Most Famous Meteorite in the World
Iron, medium octahedrite; shocked and recrystallized
Clackamas County, Oregon
If you look up the word "meteorite" in Wikipedia, the first image you will see is the 15.5 ton Willamette mass on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It's the largest meteorite found in North America and was discovered in Oregon in 1902. After having been exhibited at the 1905 World's Fair, it was donated to the Museum where it has been the centerpiece at the Hayden Planetarium and the Rose Center for Earth and Space. In the last 100 years it has been seen or touched by an estimated 50 million people. In 1999 a coalition of Oregonian Native Americans filed a claim to have the meteorite returned. The Museum challenged the claim in federal court and ultimately the parties agreed the meteorite would forever remain at the Museum and never again be cut. Specimens of the Willamette meteorite are a Holy Grail for meteorite collectors, and this softly trapezoidal specimen originates from the meteorite's missing crown section. As evidenced by its unusual internal matrix, the Willamette meteorite recrystallized, the result of a cataclysmic collision in outer space. Featuring two curved rims of the meteorite's exterior and its signature crystalline structure, this is a fine example of the most famous meteorite in the world. Measures 38 x 21 x 2mm (1.5 x .75 x .1 inches) and 9.238 grams
Provenance: Macovich Collection; American Museum of Natural History.