The Salzburg Cube

The Salzburg CubeThe Salzburg Cube, also known as The Wolfsegg Iron, is a relatively small block of iron that was found buried in a coal seam in Wolfsegg, Austria, in 1865.

It weighs 785 grams (about 1 and 3/4 lbs.) and measures 2.6 inches high by 2.6 inches long by 1.85 inches wide and has a deep incision running around its circumference. Its origin is unknown, and while it somewhat resembles a meteorite it is not.

In 1885 Reidl, a workman, who worked at a foundry in Schöndorf/Vöcklabruck Austria, broke open a block of brown coal that had been mined at Wolfsegg and found an unusual metal cube/ cuboid like object embedded in the block. The Tertiary coal deposit in which it had been embedded is generally dated to about 60 million years ago.

Reidl found the metal object unusual and significant and took it to his boss who in turn took the artefact to the Heimathaus Museum in Vöcklabruck. In 1886, the mining engineer Adolf Gurlt Professor of Geology at the University of Bonn suggested that it was meteoritic in origin.

A cast is kept in the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum in Linz, where the original object was exhibited from 1950 to 1958. In 1966-67, the object was analysed by at the Vienna Naturhistorisches Museum, using electron-beam microanalysis, which found no traces of nickel, chromium or cobalt in the iron, suggesting that it is not of meteoric origin; while the lack of sulphur shows that it is not pyrites. Because of its low magnesium content, Dr Gero Kurat of the Museum and Dr Rudolf Grill of the Geologische Bundesanstalt of Vienna thought it might be cast iron. A further investigation by Hubert Mattlianer, in 1973, concluded that it had been cast using the cire perdue (lost wax) technique.

Some say that the edges were sharp and straight, and there was little doubt that this was a machine made instrument that seemed part of a much larger instrument. It was made of iron, carbon and a trace of nickel. The cube was said to have a specific gravity of 7.75. Later tests confirmed it to be artificially manufactured.

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