PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROCHESTER ACADEMY OF SCIENCE

VOL. 4, PP. 89-91, PLATE XII. --------- April 15, 1903

Reed City Meteorite


By H. L. Preston

(Read before the Academy March 9, 1903)

Rochester, N.Y.
Published by the Society
April 1903


Reed City Meteorite


For the early history of this meteorite I am indebted to Prof. Walter B. Barrows, of the Michigan State Agricultural College, and a clipping written by Prof. Barrows from the M. A. C. Record, published by the same institution.

This meteorite, according to Prof. Barrow's statement, was found by Mr. Ernest Ruppert, a small farmer and junk dealer, on his farm in Osceola County, near Reed City, Michigan, while plowing in September, I895.

The meteorite was later displayed in a hotel window in Reed City, where Prof. Barrows saw it in December, I898, and was told there had been a dispute as to the origin of the specimen, some claiming that it was a meteor from the skies, others that it was a lump of ordinary iron. Prof. Barrows saw at a glance from its general character that it was a genuine meteorite, and at that time made an unsuccessful effort to obtain it for the college museum. Other attempts were equally unsuccessful until recently, when the iron was purchased by the college.

In January of this year Prof. Henry A. Ward, of Chicago, visited Prof. Barrows to see if he could make arrangements to obtain a portion of the mass for the Ward-Coonley Collection of Meteorites now on deposit in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In consequence of this visit the mass was sent to Rochester, N. Y., for slicing.

The meteorite on reaching Rochester, before cutting, was a semi-circular or ham-shaped mass, 10 x 21 x 26.5 cm. in its greatest diameters, of which one side (Plate XII, Fig. I) is a comparatively smooth convex surface showing no distinct pittings. The opposite side is much more irregular in form, slightly concave, with three prominent and numerous small characteristic pittings. On the upper edge of this face is a hackly fracture, oblong in shape, 4.5 x 10 cm. in diameter, where a piece, less than a pound according to Prof. Barrows, was broken off by the finder in an effort to discover what made the "stone" so heavy. The surface of this fracture, like that of the entire mass, being much oxidized, so that the nickeliferous iron is not visible. On one edge there is a large irregular pitting some 10 cm. long and 5 cm. deep. The whole mass is of a reddish-brown hue, intermingled with large irregular patches of an ochreous-yellow color. On no part of the iron was the true crust observed. Its weight was 43 pounds 11 ounces, or 19.8 kilograms. Following the directions of Prof. Ward a few cuts were made parallel to the upper left-hand edge of Plate XII, Fig. 1, showing the deep pitting mentioned above, and commencing just within the edge of this pitting. On polishing and etching these cut surfaces, we found that the iron was octahedral in structure, with well marked Widmannstäten figures. A feature of this iron is the fact that it etches so readily that the Widmannstäten figures were slightly outlined on an ordinary polished surface, without the use of acid or any other solvent.

The etched surfaces have numerous fissures from 0.5 to 1.5 mm. in width and from 5 to 65 mm. in length, partly filled with troilite but mainly with schreibersite. These fissures occur at various angles toward each other, thus breaking, to some extent, the regularity of the Widmannstäten figures, and are invariably entirely surrounded by kamacite bands. The kamacite bands average from 1.5 to 2 mm. in width, with the broadest bands generally surrounding the schreibersite filled fissures as seen in Plate XII, Fig. 2. The plessite patches which are quite prominent on the etched surfaces show clearly the alternating layers of kamacite and taenite (so-called Laphamite lines), a feature that was first distinguished in another Michigan iron, that of Grand Rapids. On no section were rounded troilite nodules, so characteristic of iron meteorites, found.

The character of the etched surface of this meteorite in many respects resembles that of Cuernavaca, but the kamacite blades are much broader and longer than in Cuernavaca, thus making the figures much more prominent.

An analysis of this meteorite, made for Prof. Ward by Prof. J. E. Whitfield, of Philadelphia, gave the following results:

FE 89.386
Ni8.180
The specific gravity7.6
From the close proximity of the farm on which this meteorite was found to Reed City we will designate it as the "Reed City Meteorite."

The main mass of this iron was returned to the Michigan Agricultural College, while the smaller end and one slice weighing 2.9 kilograms, were added to the Ward-Coonley Collection of Meteorites.

Michigan has to the present time furnished but three meteorites to the scientific world as far as described:


Grand Rapids Found 1883
Reed CityFound I895
AlleganFell July 10, I899
The first two are Siderites, the last an Aerolite.
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