Dug up in the northern part of Sweden 6 years ago, it had been in that soil since before the last ice age. Not only during the last ice age but the past 4 ice ages. 1 million years ago it struck the ground. Thousands of iron fireballs rained down as a large piece of an asteroid had entered our atmosphere at over 40 000 km/h and broken apart due to the enormous friction of the air.
But how can we know this is indeed a meteorite? The lump above looks like any old rusty piece of iron. It’s not immediately visible, but in this kind of iron meteorite, you can tell by looking at it. If you cut the meteorite and etch the surface, a unique pattern emerges. The pattern you see here is called the widmanstätten pattern. It’s only formes when ridiculously hot iron-nickel alloys are cooled down extremely slowly. We’re talking 1°c per millennia. This super long process allows octahedron (two pyramids stacked together base to base) shaped crystals to form.
When you cut a structure like this into a 2-dimensional plane looks like crisscrossing lines. This can’t be reproduced in a lab, unless the lab has a few millennia to spend on this project. (More info on authenticity available on the “Important information“ page)
This meteorite came from a planetoid that was formed in the dense gas and dust cloud that spun around a newly formed star that we now call the sun. This newly formed tiny planet had a liquid core comprising mostly of iron and nickel, just like the earth. Early on it had a minor collision with an asteroid, and a piece of the mantle broke off. This exposed the liquid metal core to the low temperatures of space, and without its insulating outer layer, it began to slowly cool down. 1 to 2 million years later it had cooled down to under 300°C.
This happened 4565.3 million years ago and we know this to an accuracy of 0.002%. This is the temperature where lead solidifies and when this happens some of the lead is formed as isotopes. These isotopes are unstable and break down slowly into stable lead isotopes. By measuring the ratio of different lead isotopes and cross-referencing that with a bunch of other dating techniques we can with great accuracy determine how crazy old this thing is.
This is actually one of the earliest solids formed in our solar system. It wasn’t until 20 million years later that the earth formed. Isn’t that crazy? This thing is 20 million years older than the earth. 20 million!
Sometimes when I see this ring it sends me on this crazy mind trip. I mean it’s a freaking meteorite that flew through space for over 4 and a half billion years before it hit Sweden of all places and some random guy found it a million years later. Now I wear it and bring it with me wherever I go. It really is awesome to hand this ring over to someone and say; This is the oldest thing you will ever touch, it is 20 million years older than the earth. And they go like “whhhhhaaat” and then you get to tell them this story and blow their freaking mind.
Sources for the above information is available on the “Important information” page.