Around four thousand years ago, a 200 ton asteroid traveling at 14.000 km/h collided with earth’s atmosphere lighting the sky of a small region of Northern Argentina (located in the Chaco province near the border with Santiago del Estero). It is believed that the original inhabitants witnessed the phenomenon and called the area Pingüen N'onaxa (Guaycurú language), which translates as Campo del Cielo (Field of the Sky).
Only 84 years after the arrival of Columbus to the American Continent, the first expeditions were sent to find out if the large iron fragments were some kind of precious metal. Other expeditions followed since the XVI century; one of the last ones took place around 2006. Some of these quests were motivated by commerce and others had scientific goals.
In 2007, the extraction and commercialization of Campo del Cielo meteorites was declared illegal by the Argentinean government, however the area remains neglected and looting is common. The fragment utilized in this work was purchased on eBay for 50 US dollars in 2016 and the seller “meteoritemadness” claimed that it was part of an old stock.
The meteorites belong to the asteroid belt located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. They originated around 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system was formed.