41235: AN OLIVINE DIOGENITE - THE RAREST METEORITE
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41235: AN OLIVINE DIOGENITE - THE RAREST METEORITE
Diogenites are a class of meteorites that originated on the asteroid Vesta. Spectroscopy studies have confirmed this origin for all the known Diogenites, along with the Howardite and Eucrite meteorite classes, which together make up the HEDO class (H=Howardites, E=Eucrites, H=Howardites, D=Diogenites and O=Olivine Diogenites, a brand new meteorite class). Howardites and Eucrites originated from the surface of Vesta while Diogenites originated from deep in the crust and the Olivine Diogenites, even lower. Diogenites are characterized by the extremely large crystal size of the pyroxenes or olivine that they are primarily composed of. They are widely considered to be the most beautiful of the stone meteorites because of the presence of the large emerald-green crystal shards with a reflective "schiller effect" that make up nearly their entire mass. While all Diogenites come from deep under the surface of Vesta, NWA 2801 and its paired stones, NWA 1877 and NWA 1459, are the only known meteorites to come from so deep in the crust or upper mantle of the asteroid which is proven by their composition of almost pure Olivine. What makes deep samples so rare is that, usually, an impact large enough to penetrate that deeply into the asteroid will destroy the asteroid. But with these samples, we have evidence of an incredible cataclysm on a visible body in our solar system, an event which excavated a crater many miles deep into the surface of Vesta yet somehow left the asteroid intact. When this meteorite was first analyzed by scientists, it created an incredible furor because they had long been seeking the "holy grail" of asteroid-origin meteorites to prove their theories of the structure and composition of the major asteroids in the solar system. The HED classification, having stood unchanged for decades, was suddenly in need of revision, thus, the "O" was added to make it the HEDO class for all meteorites originating from Vesta.
This specimen is a half-slice from the main mass of NWA 2801 and measures 92 x 84 x 3 mm (3.6 x 3.3 inches) and weighs 92 grams. It possesses a dark green spinach-jade appearance that is quite pleasing, and it will exhibit the "schiller effect" from its very large crystal grains when rotated slowly in the light. A very desirable and scientifically important specimen.
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