Tomanowos, the meteorite that survived mega-floods and human folly

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.Daniel Garcia-Castellanos, Earth scientist, Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra Jaume Almera (ICTJA – CSIC)The rock with arguably the most fascinating story on Earth has an ancient name: Tomanowos. It means “the visitor from heaven” in the extinct language of Oregon’s Clackamas Indian tribe.The Clackamas revered the Tomanowos – also known as the Willamette meteorite – believing it came to unite heaven, earth and water for their people.Rare extraterrestrial rocks like Tomanowos have a kind of fatal attraction for us humans. When European Americans found the pockmarked, 15-ton rock near the Willamette River more than a century ago, Tomanowos went through a violent uprooting, a series of lawsuits and a period under armed guard. It’s one of the strangest rock stories I’ve come across in my years as a geoscientist. But let me start…



Find out the full story here