Hugh Pickens writes writes: "BBC reports that scientists say a 1,000-year old ancient Buddhist statue with a swastika on its stomach that was recovered by a Nazi expedition in the 1930s was originally carved from a highly valuable meteorite that crashed about 15,000 years ago in the border region of eastern Siberia and Mongolia. And although it may seem that the story of this priceless object owes more perhaps to an Indiana Jones film script than sober scientific research, the "Iron Man" was discovered in Tibet in 1938 by German scientist Ernst Schafer whose expedition was supported by the Nazis, in particular by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS who believed the Aryan race originated in Tibet and was keen to recover objects from the area. The German and Austrian scientists who worked on the Iron Man were surprised to be able to trace the statue to a specific event in meteorite history. "I was absolutely sure it was a meteorite when I saw it first, even at 10 meters" says Geologist Elmar Buchner . "It is rich in nickel, it is rich in cobalt. Less than 0.1% of all meteorites and less than 1% of iron meteorites are ataxites, so it is the rarest type of meteorites you can find." Chemistry tests show the 23-pound statue's iron matches fragments of the "Chinga" meteorite field found near the Tibetan-Mongolian border in 1913 by gold prospectors. The material's hardness comes from its high iron content in addition to containing some 16 percent nickel."
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