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El Ali
Basic information Name: El Ali
     This is an OFFICIAL meteorite name.
Abbreviation: There is no official abbreviation for this meteorite.
Observed fall: No
Year found: 2020
Country: Somalia
Mass:help 15.2 t
Recommended:  Iron, IAB Complex    [explanation]

This is 1 of 71 approved meteorites (plus 1 unapproved name) classified as Iron, IAB Complex.   [show all]
Search for other: IAB complex irons, Iron meteorites, and Metal-rich meteorites
Comments: Approved 17 Jul 2021
Writeup from MB 110:

El Ali        4°17.281’N, 44°53.893’E

Hiiraan, Somalia

Find: 2020 Sept

Classification: Iron meteorite (IAB complex)

History: (Global Resources, Ltd., C. Herd, UAb): The rock was lying on top of the soil in a limestone valley rich in groundwater, with thickets of vegetation on which the camels forage. The rock was known by the finders in the field as "Nightfall." The local herders near El Ali report that they had knowledge of this rock for more than 5-7 generations memorialized through Saar folklore, songs, dances and poems. There were no other debris in the surrounding area. It was partially immersed in sand but looked different from the rocks that the finders were used to seeing in the area. The prospectors’ curiosity was piqued when they hit the boulder with a hammer. With a sledgehammer and cold chisel they laboriously removed a 90 g sample in situ and sent it to Nairobi, Kenya for XRF analysis. That revealed Fe, Ni, Mg, Co and Al percentages of 44.28, 44.97, 5.54, 1.80 and 1.40, respectively (on a presumably a weathered surface). The sample was then divided: a single ~70 g piece was split, with 19.23 g sent to N. Gessler and 54.3 g and 15.0 g sent to C. Herd, for characterization, the latter facilitated by Abdirashid Mohamed (Minnesota, USA). The stone was subsequently moved for safekeeping. (N. Gessler, Duke): The 19.23 g specimen was received on January 6, 2021, along with 6 photographs and 2 videos. The specimen was polished, and etched, showing the Widmanstaetten pattern. XRF analyses were obtained from SA Recycling, Los Angeles. The sample was then cut, with a 7.76 g slice sent to UCLA and a 9.00 g slice (plus 2.53 g of cutting slurry) sent to T. Jull, UAz, for characterization. A larger sample of 1-2 kg was later detached by the finders with an angle grinder after the stone had arrived in Mogadishu for storage. Additional documentation, including 4 photos and 3 videos, one of each of the meteorite in situ were provided by Omar Abdishakur, Director of Communication and Marketing, Kureym Mining and Rock Co. (Abdulkadir Abiikar Hussein, Almaas U): The tiny town called El Ali (Ceel Cali) is the center of camel herding communities called Derisamo. Herders visit El Ali to quench their livestock and themselves. About 15 km northwest of El Ali the camel herders knew of the rock that appeared to be metallic and used it as an anvil on which to sharpen their knives. The same countryside is rich in opal. In September 2019, artisanal miners from Kureym Mining and Rocks Company, hunting for opal, recognized the curious stone as a meteorite and sent a piece to Kenya for XRF confirmation. Numerous fragments are reported to be laying in the vicinity and scattered in the nearby region. In August 2020 they loaded and moved the stone to Mogadishu. The story of this strange rock spread everywhere and the government intervened. The truck and "large heavy rock" were taken into custody by national security officers. A. Abiikar Hussein was called on by the Ministry of Minerals and Petroleum to investigate the rock. Kureym Mining and Rock Co. supplied their XRF. A. Abiikar Hussein provided 6 photos, as well as the results of his measurement of the lengths, widths and heights at different places, and an estimated weight of 16,800 kg. He then recommended that the government purchase and conserve it for the numerous stakeholders in Somalia. The government released it to the miners where it is warehoused near the airport for sale.

Physical characteristics: (A. Abiikar Hussein, Almaas U; C. Herd, UAb; N. Gessler, Duke) A. Abiikar Hussein measured it at approximately 205 × 128 × 100 cm, provided the weight certificate by the Mogadishu Port Authority at 15,150 kg and several in situ and subsequent photographs. It has a red-brown exterior surface with numerous cm-scale irregular depressions on one side, dm-scale depressions on the other, and a long, m-scale groove. The above-ground surface has been smoothed and battered by generations of use by camel herders.

Petrography: (C. Herd, UAb and N. Gessler, Duke): SEM and hand specimen observations, including of polished and etched surfaces, show a well-developed Widmanstatten pattern with average kamacite lamellar widths ranging between 1.2±0.4 mm (n = 35) in several slices up to 8 cm across (presumably from the kg-scale sample; measured in photos) to 25±8 μm (n = 33) measured on the 19.23 g specimen. Numerous inclusions of troilite and phosphates were observed. Weathering extends along grain boundaries into the interior, and circular voids may once have held troilite.

Geochemistry: ICP-MS data, using sample of North Chile (Filomena) as standard (C. Herd, P. Hill, and S. DuFrane, UAb): Ni = 95.4, Co = 4.51 (both mg/g); Ir = 0.4, Ga = 57, Ge = 147, As = 14, Ru = 3.2, Os = 0.61, Pt = 2.7, Cu = 317, Au = 1.2 (all μg/g); Sb = 602, Re = 39 (both ng/g). Au value is a minimum due to uncertainties associated with the solution ICP-MS method. INAA data (B. Zhang and P. Warren, UCLA): Ni = 95.2, Co = 4.82 (both mg/g); Cr = 23, Ir = 0.405, Ga = 60.6, Ge = 176, As = 15.6, Ru = 3.1, W = 0.554, Os = 0.48, Pt = 2.53, Cu = 302, Au = 1.418 (all μg/g); Sb = 310, Re = <47 (both ng/g).

Classification: IAB Complex. Similar to, but distinct from, solo examples in the IAB Complex, based on comparison of data with Wasson and Kallemeyn (2002)).

Specimens: Type specimen consisting of 54.2 g and 15.0 g pieces at UAb, 7.76 g at UCLA, 9.00 g at UAz.

  • Wasson J.T. and Kallemeyn, G.W. (2002) The IAB iron-meteorite complex: A group, five subgroups, numerous grouplets, closely related, mainly formed by crystal segregation in rapidly cooling melts. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 66 2445-2473 (link)
Data from:
  Table 0
  Line 0:
Date:2020 Sept
Mass (g):15150000
Class:Iron, IAB Complex
Shock stage:low
Weathering grade:moderate
Classifier:C. Herd and P. Hill, UAb, B. Zhang and P Warren, UCLA
Type spec mass (g):86
Type spec location:UAb, UCLA, UAz
Main mass:Mogadishu
Finder:A. Farasle, A. Shigshigow, N. Hassan, A. Murasade and F. Qubeys, Kureym Mining and Rock Company
Comments:Submitted by C. Herd, N. Gessler
   and collections
UAz: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721, United States (institutional address; updated 14 Jan 2012)
UCLA: Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567, United States (institutional address; updated 17 Oct 2011)
UAb: 1-26 Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E3, Canada, Canada; Website (institutional address; updated 17 Oct 2011)
Gessler: Nicholas Gessler, 2010 Calgary Lane, Los Angeles, CA 90077, United States (private address; updated 7 Jul 2016)
References: Published in Meteoritical Bulletin, no. 110, in preparation (2021)
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     Recommended::   (4° 17' 17"N, 44° 53' 54"E)

     This is the only approved meteorite from Hiiraan, Somalia
     This is 1 of 4 approved meteorites from Somalia
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