Allende (AMNH 4303, 4329, 4333)

Part of Hall of Meteorites.

B.1.1.1. Allende hero

An explosion of stones

Before Allende fell to Earth, it probably weighed around four tons—roughly the weight of an Asian elephant. But meteorites travel through the atmosphere so rapidly—sometimes 15 kilometers a second (34,000 miles an hour) or more—that the surfaces heat up and start to melt. Most meteorites then shatter in a burst of light.

Many people in northern Mexico heard the loud explosion of Allende breaking into thousands of small pieces like the ones shown. Immediately after Allende fell, residents and collectors began gathering pieces from across the region. In the days, weeks and months after the fall, more than half the original mass was recovered.