NWA 859 (TAZA) METEORITE — NATURAL SCULPTURE FROM OUTER SPACE
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NWA 859 (TAZA) METEORITE — NATURAL SCULPTURE FROM OUTER SPACE

IRON–UNG (UNGROUPED) VICINITY OF TAZA, MOROCCO (PRECISE COORDINATES UNKNOWN)

Details
NWA 859 (TAZA) METEORITE NATURAL SCULPTURE FROM OUTER SPACE

Iron–ung (ungrouped)
Vicinity of Taza, Morocco (precise coordinates unknown)
Regmaglypts radiate in every direction from this specimen’s central axis. Vibrant crests provide further animation and asymmetric balance. On the reverse a small window was cut to reveal the meteorite’s internal structure. Accompanied by a custom armature.
210 x 121 x 137mm (8¼ x 4¾ x 5 1/3in.)
5.65kg (12.5lbs)
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Lot Essay

To enable scientists to refer to the unique attributes of a given meteorite, there must be a nomenclature system, and so a committee of scientists name meteorites after the location to which they’ve been “delivered,” (e.g., a city, village, mountain, river, county, etc.). In a desert, where there are few distinguishing geological features, meteorites are named after a grid encompassing a restricted area and are assigned sequential numbers. NWA 859 was found in 2001; it is the 859th meteorite to be catalogued following its recovery in the Northwest African grid of the Sahara Desert. It is also more colloquially known as “Taza.” As a result of atmospheric sculpting during its fiery plunge to Earth, the Taza specimen now offered creates an illusion of still being in flight. The texture of Taza meteorites is rather unusual: it consists of elongated spindles of the low-nickel iron mineral kamacite in a groundmass of fine grains of kamacite and taenite (a high-nickel iron mineral). Although 89% of iron meteorites are members of distinct chemical groups and originate from approximately a dozen different asteroids, the other 11% of recovered iron meteorites are chemically unrelated and originate from unknown parent bodies. Taza is one such “ungrouped” iron, and the sample now offered is the quintessence of a Taza meteorite.

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