Carbonaceous meteorite fall (CM, >2.1 kg) in Sitahan Barat, Pasar Onan Hurlang, and Satahi Nauli area, Kolang, Central Tapanuli Regency (Tapanuli Tengah), North Sumatra (Sumatra Utara), Indonesia at ~ 16:00 WIB (9 a.m. UTC) on 1 August 2020

Last update: 26 September 2020

A meteorite, a rare carbonaceous chondrite (CM2?), weighing ~2.1 kilograms fell through the zinc roof of 33-year old coffin-maker Josua Hutagalung’s house in the hamlet Sitahan Barat of Pasar Onan Hurlang in the Kolang subdistrict in Central Tapanuli Regency (Tapanuli Tengah), North Sumatra (Sumatra Utara) in Indonesia on 1 August at around 4 p.m. West Indonesia Time (9 a.m. UTC). The air temperature was about 30° C, the air humidity around 80% and the surface wind (17 km/h) came from northeast at the time of the fall. According to Hutagalung he heard the detonation sound in the partly overcast sky which made parts of his house shake and then a few minutes later while working on a coffin near the street in front of the house he heard a loud bang on the roof of his house, similar to the sound of a tree falling on it. After looking around for some time he and his wife saw the hole in the roof overhang on the western side of the house, near the wall of the living room. The exact fall site has not been published but according to our own research the fall most likely happened at this location: 1°53’18.8″N 98°39’39.6″E . The meteorite left an impact pit with a depth of about 15 to 20 centimeters in the soft soil. The missing piece of the zinc roof was found right next to the impact pit. After digging out the meteorite with a hoe about 30 minutes after the fall Hutagalung’s wife Mardiani Hutabarat was the first to touch and hold it in her hands while their two boys were watching. According to her it was still warm at that time. Hutagalung’s wife then carried the meteorite to the front of the house and then they kept it in their home for four hours and the meteorite still felt warm during that time. Without the smaller fragments which broke off the main mass alone weighs about 2.1 kilograms. The small fragments of the meteorite are attracted to a magnet. In the afternoon of 3 August Hutagalung told the media about his find. According to Hutagalung one of his sons told him “Jangan dijual, pak!” [Don’t sell it, Sir!] which has increased his conviction not to sell the entire meteorite mass. He knows it is very rare and it might bring good luck to his family, since ‘it did not hurt anyone when it fell’. He believes that the meteorite, as a sign of good fortune for his family and his village, might help him to fulfill his deep wish of having a daughter in the future. A few days after the fall Hutagalung sold a 94.2-gram broken off fragment of his meteorite which was immediately exported. By 14 August 2020 at the latest a few bigger and several smaller fragments of other found specimens of this fall had been sold and exported. By mid-September 2020 Hutagalung changed his mind concerning the main mass and sold it entirely to two meteorite dealers who immediately resold it to a collector. There are reports about another meteorite which fell into a rice field in the Satahi Nauli village area, about one kilometre from Hutagalung’s house. The meteorite broke into many fragments (see video below) while being dug out of the muddy soil. Additionally, a few other finds have been inofficially reported. We hope that the meteorite’s main mass will eventually be properly curated so that it remains available to scientists in the future. Some exported meteorite fragments have been analysed and classified at the Arizona State University (ASU). The fall will soon be officially added to the Meteoritical Bulletin database of the Meteoritical Society.

“Baru 30 menit yang lalu gais, sekarang kita gali dulu” (Josua Hutagalung). Video published by Josua Hutagalung on 1 August (17:34 WIB)

The 2.1-kilogram meteorite at its fall location below the roof. The video was filmed by Mr Josua Hutagalung about 30 minutes after the fall of the meteorite and shows Mrs Mardiani Hutabarat about to dig it out with a hoe in the presence of her children. Video: Josua Hutagalung (1 August 2020)

The meteorite in situ at its impact site on 1 August, just before it was excavated with a hoe. Up is southeast. Image: Josua Hutagalung

Hutagalung’s wife about to lever up and turn the meteorite with a hoe. Image: Josua Hutagalung

The meteorite just after it has been turned with a hoe. Image: Josua Hutagalung

Hutagalung’s wife touching the meteorite for the first time. Image: Josua Hutagalung

Hutagalung’s wife removing an attached lump of soil from the freshly excavated meteorite. Image: Josua Hutagalung

The soil-covered 2.1-kilogram meteorite and some smaller fragments. Photo: Josua Hutagalung

The regmaglypted 2.1-kilogram main mass meteorite. Photo: Josua Hutagalung

Dark carbonaceous chondrite lithology and fusion crust with regmaglypts. Photo: Smart News Tapanuli

The broken face of the main mass reveals the typical lithology of a carbonaceous chondrite (CM type ?). Photo: iNews TV/Raymond

Josua Hutagalung presenting his meteorite. Photo: Agustina Ester Hutagalung

Josua Hutagalung presenting his meteorite. Photo: Agustina Ester Hutagalung

The impacted upper side of the broken off roof fragment (left) held right above its find location just next to the impact pit. The meteorite (right) with its large flat side facing the sky, as it was originally found. On 3 August it was put back into its impact pit for a reenactment. Image: thomsonpasaribu

The impacted bottom side of the broken off roof fragment (left) next to the meteorite (right) on 3 August. Image: thomsonpasaribu

The impacted upper side of the broken off roof fragment (left). The meteorite’s main mass weighs about 2.1 kilograms on 3 August 2020. Image: thomsonpasaribu

Top view of the loaf-shaped meteorite which is mostly fusion-crusted and has several regmaglypts. Photo: Cindy Astri Nainggolan (5 August 2020)

The meteorite being inspected in Josua Hutagalung’s living room close to the impact hole in the roof on 5 August 2020. Video: NKRI

Josua Hutagalung looking at the impact hole in his roof next to the northwestern corner of his living room on 3 August 2020. Image: thomsonpasaribu

The impact hole in the the roof overhang next to the northwestern corner of his living room. Image: thomsonpasaribu

The impact hole in the roof. The viewing direction is south. Photo: Josua Hutagalung

The impact hole in the roof. The viewing direction is northwest. Image: Parningotan Manalu Shining

The exact fall location of the 2.1-kg mass in the Jalan (street) Aek Badan in the hamlet Sitahan Barat in Pasar Onan Hurlang, Kolang, Tapanuli Tengah. Up is north.

A meteorite fragment at the Arizona State University. Photo: Meenakshi Wadhwa

Media

Video: : Smart News Tapanuli (3 August 2020)

Video: tvOneNews (3 August 2020)

Video: thomsonpasaribu pasaribu (3 August 2020)

Video: thomsonpasaribu pasaribu (4 August 2020)

Video: Buletin iNews Pagi, iNews TV/Raymond (5 August 2020)

Video: daboribo_Kolang (5 August 2020)

Fragments in a Satahi Nauli rice field

The video below is probably the one Josua Hutagalung was referring to when he spoke about a find in a rice field about one kilometre from his home.

Fragment of the specimen from the rice field. It looks like a CM chondrite. Photo: Erick Sinaga Pion Kolang

Fragment of the specimen from the rice field. It looks like a CM chondrite. Photo: Erick Sinaga Pion Kolang

Digging out fragments of a specimen from the deep muddy soil of a Satahi Nauli rice field about one kilometre away from the hamlet Sitahan Barat. Unfortunately, the specimen crumbled into many small fragments when being touched during the excavation. Video: Erick Sinaga Pion Kolang (live broadcast on 1 August)