Thuathe  (7,560 g)

Thuathe (7,560 g)

Thuathe

Lesotho

Fell 2002 July 21, ~13:49 GMT

Ordinary chondrite (H4/5)

A meteorite travelling east to west exploded over Lesotho producing an elliptical strewn field extending 7.4 by 1.9 km (bearing: ~276°) on the westernmost lobe of the Thuathe (or Berea) Plateau, ~12 km east of the capital city of Maseru (approximate strewnfield apex coordinates: (W) 29°19′31′′S, 27°34′37′′E; (E) 29°19′54′′S, 27°39′19′′E; (N) 29°19′11′′S, 27°37′2′′E; (S) 29°20′14′′S, 27°36′54′′E). The explosion was accompanied by an extraordinarily loud, 15 s long noise which was heard over a large (100 km radius) area of Lesotho; the fall was eye-witnessed by several people who reported sightings of dust trails of “sparkling objects” over Lesotho and the southern part of the Free State Province of South Africa. Many villagers of Ha Ralimo, Boqate Ha Majara, and Boqate Ha Sofonia reported falls of stones close to themselves and onto their homes. The estimated total mass of recovered material is ~30 kg, including 418 stones in the 2 g to 2.4 kg mass range for a total of 24.673 kg which were collected and catalogued by A. Ashworth and David P. Ambrose (National University of Lesotho), one stone of 1.020 kg held by Dr. Molisana Molisana (National University of Lesotho), 5 stones acquired by the National Museum of Lesotho in Maseru, some were collected by the Geology Department, Free State University, Bloemfontein, and several others purchased by members of the public. Mineralogy and classification (W. U. Reimold, Wits; P. C. Buchanan, NIPR): most freshly cut slices from several stones show a homogeneous beige to light-grey lithology speckled with abundant and heterogeneously distributed (20% to, in exceptional cases, >50 vol%) metal particles; some are cross­cut by dark shock veinlets and show brecciated structure with light grey matrix surrounding lighter colored, well-rounded inclusions; chondrules distinctly recognizable; olivine Fa17.4 ± 0.8; shock stage S2/3. Specimens (numbers in brackets refer to the catalog by A. Ashworth and David P. Ambrose): 207 g (stone #58), Bleloch Museum, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand; 294 g (stone #59), 309 g (stone #60), 342 g (stone #61) plus four thin sections, one thin section of stone #58, Wolf Uwe Reimold (Wits); 67 g (stone #54), 45 g (stone #111), 110 g (stone #56), 146 g (stone #193), 16 g (stone #356), 15 g (stone #359), one thin section of stone #59 and #60, Paul C. Buchanan (NIPR); 127 g (stone #57), Christian Koeberl (UVienna); 5 stones of unknown weights, National Museum of Lesotho in Maseru; additional material at the Geology Department, Free State University, Bloemfontein

 

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