Ensisheim Meteorite Is The Oldest Meteorite With A Precise Date Of Impact

Ensisheim Meteorite Is The Oldest Meteorite With A Precise Date Of Impact

Icestech.info – On November 7, 1492, the Ensisheim meteorite was observed to fall in a wheat field outside the walled town of Ensisheim in then Alsace, Further Austria (now France).

This is the oldest meteorite that can be described as a stony, triangular -shaped object weighing 127 kilograms. The Ensisheim meteorite is one of the earliest and precisely dated cases of a meteorite fall on record. Its descent took place around noon on Nov 7, 1492.

Ensisheim Meteorite Is The Oldest Meteorite With A Precise Date Of Impact

Ensisheim woodcut . Image via Dr. Martin Horejsi/ http://www.meteorite-times.com/

A loud explosion preceded the arrival of a 127-kg stone meteorite that struck the earth ground in wheat field near the village of Ensisheim, in the province of Alsace, France, which at the time was part of Germany.

According to sources, King Maximilian I of Austria (1459 -1519) and the Roman emperor heard of the stone that fell from the sky and decided to take a look at the stone. He summoned his council to determine the important of this event; their verdict was that the meteorite was a good omen for success in Maximilian’s wars with Turkey and France.

The Thunderstone of Ensisheim. Image via Planetary Meteorites. de

The Thunderstone of Ensisheim. Image via Planetary Meteorites. de

At the time, he was engaged in local battles with the French and believed that the fall was a sign from God, predicting his upcoming military victories.

Maximilian ordered the Ensisheim stone to be placed with an appropriate inscription in the local parish church and only removed a piece of meteorite for himself.

The meteorite was fixed to the wall with iron crampons to prevent it from wandering at night or being removed.

Ensisheim  meteorite in the town's museum. Image via Wikipedia

Ensisheim meteorite in the town’s museum. Image via Wikipedia

It is now protected in the town of Ensisheim but over centuries,  visitors managed to chipp off about 56 kg (123 pounds) of its original 127-kg mass.

People believed the object was of supernatural origin, so they wanted to have a souvenir.

The Ensisheim meteorite is classified as an ordinary chondrite, the most abundant meteorite class, constituting more than 85 percent of meteorite falls.

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