Campo del Cielo is the name given to a family of meteorite fragments found in a 2 x 12 mi area (crater) in northern Argentina. The meteor was estimated to have impacted Earth around 4700-4200 years ago. The first recorded mention we have of this mineral dates back to 1576, when the governor of a northern Argentina province used the military to search for a large piece of metal. He was only aware of this material because of the knowledge from the aboroginal people of Argentina, who used this space rock for weapons and crafting material. They found what had assumed to be the natural metal and sent it back to mainland Europe for further analysis. There was very little recorded activity mentioning anything else about this meteorite until 1774. However, little did this governor know that he had actually found an 18 ton single piece of meteorite that was later referred to as Meson di Fierro (meaning the Table of Iron). This name was coined by Don Bartolomé Francisco de Maguna, who “rediscovered” this mineral in 1774.
A further expedition in 1783 by Rubin de Celi led to the use of explosives to try and extract this humongous chunk from the Earth. He was unsuccessful in his trial and later deemed this material being made from ancient volcanic activity, which could have possibly been the source of an exposed Iron mine. This exact piece was left in the Earth, but was somehow extracted between then and the middle to late 1800’s. That was a mystery for over 100 years when in 1992 someone was arrested for trying to smuggle out a 37 ton piece of meteorite. At the point of this writing this mineral has not officially been determined as the famed Meson di Fierro, but many researchers and geologists believe it to be so!
The name of this mineral comes from the aboriginal people who initially discovered and alerted the Spanish of its existence. Natives believed it had fallen from a specific position in the sky known to them as “Pigeum Nonralta”. In Spanish this translates to “Campo del Cielo”, which means “Field of Heaven”.
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