In 1969, five year-old Vicki Allison was living with her American missionary parents in an old adobe home in Chihuahua, Mexico, on the eastern edge of the Sierra Madre mountains. Around 1 am on the morning of February 8, the family was awakened by a bright light and shaking. The shutters flew open and the night was illuminated by a tremendous fireball, followed by a loud boom. “It was almost like high noon,” Vicki recalls. Vicki remembers her father getting a radio or news report, of some kind, about where the impact site might be. The family piled in their van and drove 60 or 70 miles, which took several hours.
The Allison family in Mexico, around the time of the Allende fireball
Shortly after daybreak they arrived at an open field, where several locals were wandering around in a daze. The meteor had exploded in the air and showered the area with multiple pieces, but nobody yet knew exactly what had happened. Mr. Allison saw an odd looking rock on the ground, and “knew it was something unusual,” Vicki remembers. He carried it to the van, and put it in the back. The family later returned to the United States, and the “unusual rock” was given to Vicki. It was used as a doorstop for many years, until Vicki’s brother saw a show about meteorites on the Discovery Channel and decided to have the Mexican rock examined.
The Allison Allende carbonaceous chondrite (CV3.2) fell to earth on February 8, 1969 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Specimen weight is 4,467 grams, making it one of the largest of its type offered for private sale. As the stone was picked up immediately after the fall it still exhibits a fresh fusion crust.
The owners contacted Aerolite Meteorites who offered to work with the family and find a good home for this important meteorite. The Allison Allende was a featured exhibit during the 2008 Tucson gem and mineral shows. It was recently purchased by a private collector in the United States and can look forward to a brighter furture than its previous life as a doorstop.
Photographs by Suzanne Morrison © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
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