Investigating strange rocky material that fell from the sky - 17th July 2020, Birmingham UK


Aug 26, 2021
Hello All,

I live in Birmingham, UK. For the last year I've been investigating some unusual rocky material that fell from the sky as a fireball on 17th July 2020. We heard it happen and 2 CCTV caught it.

The material is highly carbonaceous, low density (typ <1g/cm3), porous, and black on the inside, brown on the outside. I've found the outside turns brown when cooling from red hot temperatures, by the formation of brown crystals. It appears to contain a number of metamorphic assemblies such as Kyanite and Muscovite, possibly Epidote, and the bulk composition is as below.

I've had a petrographic analysis done, some images below, but the general findings to date are:

- meteorite: The material has some meteoritic characteristics, but can not be a matched to any existing sample in the collections. (Interestingly though it fell at the start of the Perseids and there are no confirmed cometary meteorites to compare it to)
- industrial waste / slag: confirmed by several academic experts of such materials that it's not
- volcanic: confirmed by several academic experts of such materials that it's not
- other: TBC, one suggestion was a piece of burned/altered artificial satellite that fell to earth

The further the investigation, I'd really like to to determine its ultimate origin and have been trying for:

- Triple oxygen isotope analysis
- Cosmic Ray Exposure analysis
- Radiocarbon or other suitable material dating analysis

With little joy. Does anyone know who might be able to help with any of these? In the UK, or anywhere in the world?

I have lots more images and info to share if needed.



Some images and details for context

Some of the larger fragments

One fragment close up:


Outside turns brown on cooling from red hot temperatures


Close up of some surface crystals and a really odd feature, not seen to change over time

Close up of the first piece picked up the next morning, and some of the unusual features on it

White mushroom-like structures - numerous on the surface

Maroon Spheres - also numerous on the surface

Glassy extrusions and structures


Possible Kyanaite and Muscrovite


Bulk Composition

Some thin slice images, 10x objective + 16x eyepiece
Some of the characteristics the petrographic analysis determined as 'meteorite-like' was the presence of chondrules, but these were found to be empty and expected to be filled with olivine, serpentine and other Mg-Fe silicates. They also commented on the angular cooling textures (maybe Widmanstatten pattern?) observed and that cooling textures like these are observed in meteorites. however, they are formed in metal alloys, rather than silicates.



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