An iron artifact discovered in Morocco of meteoritic origin

Moroccan specialists from the University Museum of the University of Meteorites Ibn Zhor of Agadir whose Professor Abderrahmane Ibhi, expert in meteorites and responsible founder of the Museum in question and their Italian counterparts from the Institute of Crystallography and the Institute of Plasma Science and Technology looked at four metal objects unearthed by a French antique dealer between Imilchil and Midelt (Morocco) to highlight the use of meteoritic iron in the Moroccan artisanal industry.

In the world, only a few scientific studies have clearly reported the identification of meteorite iron in ancient objects (two funeral bracelets and an ax discovered in two Polish archaeological sites and an ancient sculpture “Iron Man” carved from a fragment of the meteorite of Chinga).

In Morocco, no object consisting of meteoritic iron has been found, although many recent scientific studies show that there are several meteoritic fields of iron, mainly in Agoudal (Imilchil) and Maatarka (Taza), as well as in the North and in the North-West of Morocco.

The four metal objects in question, recovered in 2020 by a French antique dealer, gave a positive response to the test confirming the presence of nickel cations (test with a chemical solution “DMG test”).

But this test is not sufficient to identify iron of meteoritic origin because it is very sensitive, which leads to false positives indeed many industrial metals can contain enough Ni to generate a positive answer Moroccan meteor specialist Abderrahmane Ibhi said in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews FR.

Extensive mineralogical and microstructural analyzes at the Scientific Research Center of the Faculty of Sciences of Agadir and at the Institute of Crystallography in Italy of these four dagger blades using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry analysis ) state-of-the-art non-destructive and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), showed that of the four objects only one knife is clearly consistent with a cold-worked iron meteorite ” he added.

This huge discovery honors the scientific, prospecting and exploration work of specialists in the field since it is the first object made of meteoritic iron and listed as such, found in the Kingdom to date.

It was therefore confirmed through the high concentrations of nickel and lower concentrations of cobalt and sulfur, detected in the artefact, of the “typicality” of iron of meteoritic origin.

The surface of this knife is very weathered, it is covered with layers of rusty deposits, most likely from moisture and soil. The analyzes of the minerals produced by this alteration show that the latter seems to be influenced by its environment and its terrestrial age and not by anthropic effects. “.

This study is the first example showing iron mining in Morocco using meteoric iron as a source of metal.

Also, faced with this important discovery, it is logical that a first scientific article published in the journal specialist Swiss scientist Legacy on the use of meteorite iron in Moroccan culture has appeared making Moroccans proud.

“This discovery should not be neglected because, even if these blades have been reworked, they are still of extraterrestrial origin and must be registered as a national meteorite heritage”, will tell MoroccoLatestNews FR, Pr Ibhi.

The meteor expert will conclude with this final word, ” In Morocco, there may be many other meteorite objects, but to be sure, a preliminary examination, followed by more complex tests is necessary. For this, cooperation between collectors and the University Museum of Meteorites should be developed to develop methods for researching meteorite objects of human origin with the creation of a special category of meteorite artefacts. “.

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