Luis Alvarez's Iridium Chunk


Luis Alvarez/Alvarez Hypothesis


Iridium Nugget


Provides energy-output estimation





Collected by

Warehouse 13



Date of Collection




Luis Walter Alvarez was an American experimental physicist, inventor, and professor who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968 for development of the hydrogen bubble chamber enabling discovery of resonance states in particle physics.

In 1980, with his son, geologist Walter Alvarez, he developed the Alvarez hypothesis which proposes that the extinction event that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs was the result of an asteroid impact. The evidence for the Alvarez impact hypothesis is supported by chondritic meteorites and asteroids which contain a much higher iridium concentration than the Earth's crust.

Using estimates of the total amount of iridium in the K–Pg layer, and assuming that the asteroid contained the normal percentage of iridium found in chondrites, the Alvarez team went on to calculate the size of the asteroid. The answer was about 10 kilometers (6 mi) in diameter, about the size of Manhattan. Such a large impact would have had approximately the energy of 100 million megatons, i.e. about 2 million times as great as the most powerful thermonuclear bomb ever tested.


When held, the artifact gives the ability to accurately estimate energy output and generate quick mathematical formulae to support it. This may also result in sudden hypothesis about the outcome of such events, even those proposed hypothetically.

Because of this, the artifact is kept on file to be used in any high-scale event to predict damage and losses.

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