The first scientific article
published on the Union County Meteorite.
New Localities of Meteoric Iron;
by Charles Upham Shepard, M.D.
The American Journey of Science and Arts
Vol. XVII - May, 1854
3. Union county, Georgia.
For my specimen of this iron also, and for my chief information respecting its discovery, I am indebted to Hon. T. L. Clingman, as will appear from the following extract from his letter, dated Washington, Nov. 16, 1853. Not long before I left home, I was at the copper mines of Ducktown, Polk county, Tennessee ; and while there, in looking over some specimens of Mr. S. Congden [Congdon], I found this ore, and told him that I was satisfied it was meteoric iron. He had taken it to be merely a rich iron-ore, and informed me that some weeks previously, it had been brought to him by a' person, who had picked up a large lump of it in his field, and who had broken off this piece with a view to having it tested. The discovery was made in the edge of Georgia, but in what county Mr. Congden [Congdon] could not learn.
I have more recently ascertained from Mr. B.R. Dickey of Habersham county, Georgia, that the mass was found by a Mr. Freeman, in Union county of that state; and that its weight when picked up was about fifteen pounds.
The specimen sent to me by Mr. Clingman weighs one pound and one and three quarter ounces; and appears to have formed a portion of a somewhat tabular mass about two inches in thickness. It is coated on three sides, with a thin, scaly covering of brownish black hydrated peroxyd of iron. The other two sides present the appearance of a fresh fracture, but are nevertheless destitute of metallic lustre, the surfaces being very irregular and dependant [sic] in form, upon the peculiar, concretionary character of the mass, which is strongly analogous to that of a very coarse-grained colophonite garnet, or the coccolite variety of pyroxene. It is, however, more or less traversed by cylindrical, or almond-shaped masses of meteoric pyrites, some of which are above an inch in length and one-third of an inch in diameter.
When polished, it approaches more nearly to a silver-white color, than any other meteoric iron. When acted upon by acids, it does not give the Widmannstättian figures; but only develops a series of web-like meshes, or, at most, a mottled, map-like delineation.
Its specific gravity = 7•07. A fragment, as nearly as possible free from pyrites, was found to contain 3•32 p.c. of nickel. It is rich in chromium, and contains traces of phosphorus, cobalt, magnesium and calcium.