Fell September 28, 1969
Murchison, Victoria, Australia
From Rocks From Space, O.R. Norton
As if the Allende fall wasn't enough, meteoriticists were blessed again that same year by the fall of another carbonaceous
chondrite, this time half way around the world in the town of Murchison, Victoria, Australia. It was a Sunday morning and
residents were attending church when the fireball appeared, signaling the arrival of the Murchison meteorites. Loud
detonations and hissing noises were heard throughout the Goulburn River Valley and smoke rings were seen hanging in the
air. Looking more like unburned charcoal briquettes than rocks, the meteorites were scattered across a 5-square-mile area
and stunk up the whole town with the smell of methylated spirits and dust. People gathered them from their yards and
neighborhood streets. Hundreds of stones were found, the largest weighing only about 15 pounds. More than 220 pounds
were recovered. CM2 meteorites are water- bearing. They contain about 10% water, resulting in a much more friable and
fragile specimen. They must be gathered quickly, before the weather has a chance to destroy them. Like the CI carbonaceous
chondrites, those from Murchison contain organic compounds, namely amino acids, that are found in all life forms on Earth.
Some 92 amino acids have been detected in Murchison, only 19 of which are known to Earth. This immediately raises questions
about the origin of life, and the possibility that the Earth was "seeded" by one such meteorite.
Info on the piece below:
Peter Gillick was the postmaster in Murchison, Australia in 1969. After hearing about the fall, through some of the locals, he sent his sons - Peter and Kim -out to try and collect some. These specimens were collected by his sons within days or weeks of the fall. Unfortunately, it had rained during that time which tainted the specimens for science. However, they are very fresh and all specimens have some crust!
1.1 gram crusted fragment with embedded grass $220