Postcard from... Spain


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The Independent Online

In the tiny northerly Spanish village of Ardón, for more than 80 years householder Rosa González Perez box of assorted memorabilia has contained a lump of meteorite, the size of a marble, that landed just behind her around 9.30am on 9 July 1931. Fast forward eight decades and the meteorite has finally been dated as 4,565 million years old and been placed on display in Madrid’s National Museum.

Now 94, Ms González recalls the meteorite landing “perfectly”. “I’m glad that the mystery of its origin has been resolved,” she told El País newspaper. Ms González initially thought “because of its warmth” the object was part of a chimney until the local priest, perhaps assumed to be expert at identifying unearthly objects, proclaimed it a meteorite.

However, it has taken a further 80 years to discover it came from a massive asteroid belt near Jupiter, some up to 400 kilometres wide, although fortunately the one that fell in Ardón was rather smaller.

Last year another much larger meteorite was unearthed in the village of Retuerta de Bullaque – which had been used since 1980 for pressing hams during the process of killing local pigs. “We called it the meteorite as a joke, but didn’t think it actually was one,” a farmer explained.