Rodolfo Novakovic – Brian Townley
In October 2003, under the Chilean legal framework of the territorial Mining Code, a more than six tons iron rock was removed from the township of “San Joaquin”, Santiago, Chile. Knowledge of this rock dates back to before 1918, and people believe it was around that very place al least 150 years before. During the 18th century, and after 1767, the area in which the Veas-01 iron rock was located was a farm land called “La Ollería” and belonged to a Jesuit religious community. Three Bavarian Jesuits, two priests and one friar, were in charge of the “Chacrilla La Ollería”, where they held a metal working factory in which iron was processed as well as other metals: Peter Waingartner, Joseph Arnalt, and Joseph Ambroz. Before them, in Chile, nobody possessed the knowledge on how to produce pure iron or even steel. After their arrival (August 1767) and after King Carlos III of Spain expelled the Jesuits out of the kingdom and until present day, there is no evidence nor historical document of existence of a blast furnace or any similar technology to produce iron or even to reuse any sort of steel in the area of “La Ollería”.
Although the Veas-01 rock shows some potentially extraterrestrial properties, two perfectly rectangular holes (22 x 5.5 cms) indicate human intervention at temperatures up to 2500º C. As it will be described later in this document, despite the fact that the Veas-01 rock is mainly made out of pure iron, the metal itself does not melt at a temperature of 1515º C as common iron does. Only partial melting was accomplished at very high and unusual temperatures.
Including the Veas-01 Rock, in 1767 three unusual objects existed in these farmlands that belonged to Jesuit Order:
(1) An Electric Machine of unknown type, acquired probably before 1765 and registered in inventory by the substitute minister Juan Antonio Archimbano, in substitution of the head minister Juan de Balmaceda. The Electric Machine, probably brought from Leyden (Holland) or from Germany, was found by Mr. Archimbano on august 26, 1767, in the farm known as “Calera de Tango”. Since that time this machine’s history was lost (Archivo Nacional de Santiago, Fondo Jesuitas, Vol 7, fs. 371). The first officially registered electric machine in Spain was authorized by King Carlos III in 1770 (Carles Puig-Pla, Royal Academy of Science Barcelona), five years after the acquisition of an electric machine by the Jesuits in Chile.
(2) A Chalice of heavy metal, probably some sort of steel, covered in silver, which was stolen from “Museo de La Catedral” in 1982. The Chalice was forged for 19 years, between 1748 and 1767, in the “Calera de Tango” farm by a priest from Leyden (Holland). (Documentos Caliz de Calera de Tango, Museo de la Catedral, 1982).
(3) The Veas-01 and its rectangular orifices, found at the place which was known as the “La Ollería” farm. No documents exist to demonstrate this fact, but this topic will be discussed later in this document.
Initial studies of this Rock indicated a high iron content, purity in the range of 98.55 to 99.15 wt%, with a low C content, below 0.1 wt%. These characteristics, comparable to present time low C alloy steels, require blast furnace technology for their making. Although there are some characteristics proper of siderite type meteorites, low Ni contents argue against such a classification. Leucite or a Leucitoid minerals have been reported for some melt crust samples surrounding one of the rectangular orifices. Not commonly present in meteorites, it has been thought that Leucite might have occurred as secondary crystallization from Maskelynite after the shock event when the rock struck the Earth’s surface.
Despite the fact that this well known 6170 kilograms Big Iron Rock was intriguing, no town council or any other Chilean government agency, including “The Council of National Monuments” or the Chilean Geological Survey ever ventured in the study of this rock. Because Mr. Jorge Veas was the first person to give any serious research efforts to this rock, it was named as VEAS-01.
Since our goal is to explore a possible origin of this Iron Rock, we will separately examine each part of the rock, first the outer melt crust considering our most recent report made by the geologist, Dr. Brian K. Townley, and afterward a brief summary of the iron from which the Rock is made.
The report summarized below was made by the geologist Dr. Brian Townley at the Department of Geology from University of Chile, and presents a personal data review of a micropetrographic, SEM and microprobe study of selected samples of the Veas-01 Iron Rock, together with results of other analysis reported independently in the past years. Dr. Townley also included data results of an oxygen isotope study carried out on melt crust samples, at the Department of geology, Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario. This rock, of yet uncertain origin, has been center of research efforts by Carlos Hidalgo & Asociados group, with minor collaboration on part of Brian Townley. All research expenses have been incurred by Carlos Hidalgo & Asociados group. Samples for micropetrographic and isotopic study were personally taken by Dr. Townley from the Veas-01 Iron Rock in company of Rodolfo Novakovic and Carlos Hidalgo.
The Veas-01 Iron Rock consists mostly of iron, with an outer melt crust and many inclusions of silicate rocks. The rock itself weighs approximately 6.2 metric tons, measuring some 2.5 by 2 by 1.5 meters. The Rock is strongly magnetic, this property having been measured by the Physicist Engineer Mr. Jorge Reyes Molina and by Dr. Townley. The Big Iron Rock presents two well defined sections of differing characteristics summarized below:
(1) An outer thin melt crust which surrounds almost half the total rock surface. This crust varies from one point to another, well developed and about 5 – 8 mm thick on one side (from which samples were taken), and very thin and poorly developed on the other side. In some parts the crusts looks dark and glassy, in others it looks slightly granular, and in other parts granular, with macroscopic iron sulphides (troilite, pyrrotite or pyrite) or magnetite. A sample of the slightly granular crust indicates a quartz subsaturated mineralogy consistent of millimeter sized olivine, pyroxenes, iron-magnesium-(chromium) spinel, leucite or leucitoid mineral, possible melilite and minor undetermined calcium-aluminum inclusions which show an iron-rich portion exsolved from an iron-poor potasium-rich portion. A sample from the dark glassy crust presents millimeter sized chromites and olivines (fayalite-monticellite) in a matrix of smaller chromites and olivines and lesser iron oxides. The thin melt crust in parts presents considerable development of brecciate fragmented rocks in a metal and iddingsite matrix. An oxygen isotope analysis from a whole rock sample and from a monticellite/melilite crystal yielded results that on a δ17O versus δ18O plot do not fit exactly on the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), even within error margin, but slightly below. The crust mineralogy shows many characteristics that are comparable to Chondrite Group meteorites. The melt crust represents no more than 3 wt% of the total rock.
(2) An inner iron-rich matrix which represents 97% of
the rock, consisting of pure iron with a low Ni (average 0.20 wt%) content,
and some inclusions commonly found in meteorites such as Troilite, Niningerite
and Chromite (among others). An inclusion which so far has not been reported
for iron-meteorites was found in the Veas-01 iron rock, an iron manganese
sulphide (Fe,Mn)S, indicative of very high formation pressure (verbal comm.,
Dr. Jorge Garín, metallurgy, University of Santiago).