This extraordinary iron meteorite, formed from the purest building blocks of the Universe, fell to earth approximately 4,200-4,700 years ago as part of a meteor that created the legendary Campo del Cielo ("Field of the Sky") asteroid field in Argentina. This meteor punched at least 26 craters into the surface of the earth in the Santiago del Estero province, becoming part of the creation myths of indigenous peoples in the area.
This sizeable piece from the famed meteorite strewn fields weighs approximately 3.5 pounds, and is composed of some of the purest iron ever found. Though very small fragments of the Campo del Cielo can be found on the market, most large pieces such as this can only be found in museums. In fact, as of 1994, a series of provincial laws have been passed to keep these specimens in their original location, making this extraterrestrial treasure exceptionally rare.
The date of the fall is 2,200–2,700 years BCE
The cosmic radiation age is approximately 14 million years old
5” wide x 3” long x 2 1/2” high
Located outside of Santiago del Estero province, just north of Buenos Aires, the Campo del Cielo asteroid field measures approximately 320 square kilometers in size. The area is no recognized as one of the longest meteorite strewn fields in the world, and has yielded over 44,000 tons of iron. Several large meteors have been discovered, most notably the 33-ton el Chaco that was mined from a depth of 5 meters. At least 8 masses, including el Chaco, are in different museums throughout Argentina, while newly excavated material can be found in the United States, including a 77-pound piece in New York.
Official records of the craters date to 1576, when the Spanish governor sent troops to search for a large iron mass that the native tribes were using to make weapons. This expedition to a place called Piguem Nonralta, or Campo del Cielo ("Field of the Sky"), brought back pieces of the fabled Mesón de Fierro (“Table of Iron”). A report was made, sent to the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, and largely forgotten. It wasn’t until two centuries later in the 1770s that the next record of Campo del Cielo and its meteorites was seen. Samples were sent to Madrid, and in 1799 the French chemist Josef-Louis Proust discovered a remarkable 90% iron and 10% nickel in the metal, and questioned whether this precious alloy was indeed a product of nature or of artifice. Proust could not have known that he was making the first analysis of nickel in an iron meteorite. It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists would acknowledge stones could fall from the sky, confirming the stories the indigenous people of Argentina had recognized for centuries.