the University Museum of Agadir reveals its secrets

The University Museum of Meteorites of Agadir made a point of rectifying the scientific data of the Tiglit meteorite that fell near the village of the same name, Tiglit, about 140 km south-east of the city of Guelmim, Friday 10 December 2021, around 8 p.m.

Indeed, the inhabitants of the region of the village of Tiglit, about 140 km south-east of the town of Guelmim, have witnessed a fact which, after all without being frequent, is nevertheless quite customary to these regions. The celestial event occurred when a large ball of green fire lit the sky over the entire region before three successive and powerful detonations were heard, thus confirming the fall of a meteorite and its fragmentation into several small scattered pieces. on the mountain peaks of the Tiglit region located on the map (N 28 ° 23.533 ‘; W 10 ° 22.632 ′). The event caused, one suspects it, a real rush towards the fragments of meteorites. The next day the whole region was invaded by meteorite hunters from the great Moroccan south of Guelmim, Aouina Aghman, Aouina Tarkoz, Lamsayed, Tantan, Es Smara, Lâayoune …) who in 4/4, by car or even on foot went to the said area, the rugged terrain, in the hope of finding the celestial stone so to speak and which is worth a weight in gold.

Pr. Ibhi in his analysis laboratory

Suddenly, the first specimens or samples collected and without scientific data reached exorbitant prices of up to 6,000 dirhams per gram on the spot, traded as a lunar meteorite. Professor Abderrahmane Ibhi, expert in meteorites and founder responsible for the University Museum of Meteorites, confirmed the authenticity of the news namely the fall of a meteorite in the south-east of Morocco near the village of Tiglit and indicated that the Analyzes carried out by the University Meteorite Museum confirm that it is indeed a celestial rock of the aubrite type of asteroidal origin thus calming certain heat, and this to the chagrin of meteorite hunters who thought they had made a fortune. Immediately after the announcement of the discovery of the first samples of the said meteorite by people who were near the village, members of the Sahara Foundation for Astronomy went to the site of the fall in coordination with the University Museum of Meteorites of Ibn Zohr University to inspect the place and collect information. They took samples of possible fragments of the meteorite for an analysis in the laboratory and to declare its origin.

Also, in this very rugged terrain, small samples were found, ranging from one gram to around 250 grams. The price of the Tiglit meteorite called “the treasure” by collectors then reached more than 6000 dirhams per gram on the spot in the desert, intermediaries believing that the celestial object came from the Moon. It is true, says Professor Abderrahmane Ibhi, expert in meteorites, “that there is a great similarity between a type of lunar meteorite (lunar feldspatic regolith breccia) and an aubrite type meteorite from asteroids orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Mars in the asteroid belt. Therefore, people need to be careful until laboratory analyzes are done to determine the exact type of meteorite.“.

After receiving a sample at the University Museum of meteorites, preliminary analyzes were carried out at the Scientific Research Center of the Faculty of Sciences of Agadir. The results, Professor Ibhi tells us, showed that “the Tiglit meteorite is a light-colored igneous rock, mainly composed of large white crystals of enstatite (orthopyroxene very rich in magnesium and poor in iron) with some olivine crystals of forsterite type (poor in iron), of an alloy iron-nickel and a multitude of rare accessory minerals. The strongly brecciated texture attests to a violent history of its parent body. Based on these data, we can confirm that this rock can be classified as an achondrite meteorite of the “aubrite” type.“.

And to explain to us what the aubrites were, so called after a small meteorite fell in 1836 in Aubres in France. They are usually almost monomineral enstatite pyroxenites, composed mainly of enstatite from a differentiated asteroid. Comparisons of their spectra with those of asteroids revealed great similarities between the group of aubrites and E-type asteroids which is believed to be composed of enstatite-type orthopyroxene (MgSiO3).

More than twenty-one meteorite falls (all types combined) were observed and were picked up on Moroccan territory. Concerning the Aubrites, the Tiglit meteorite is the first fall observed in this region. It will bear the name of the village where it landed. However, 6 were collected in Morocco (one in 2005, two in 2006, two in 2007 and one in 2019, all of these rocks bear the name NWA). These falls and discoveries are exceptional sources of knowledge tells us the founder responsible for the University Museum of Meteorites, these celestial rocks contain precious information on the conditions of formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago, on the genesis planets and their internal composition. However, it is unfortunate that the meteorites found on Moroccan soil end up exhibited in major museums around the world instead of remaining on Moroccan territory. To remedy this, the Ibn Zohr University in Agadir founded in 2016 the University Museum of Meteorites, a non-profit scientific and cultural establishment to welcome Moroccan meteorites and encourage scientific culture, astrotourism and scientific research.



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