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Posts posted by meteoritewatch

  1. Eric,

    Like I said, you are preaching to the choir. And, IMHO, going about this the indirect wrong way. You are absolutely wasting your time and doing nothing but stirring the pot here. The demographics will prove 90% of the people that might read your stuff and agree with it will do nothing. Your website, best I can tell is a "for profit" venture. If this cause it really true and dear to you, move it away from any profit center. None of the posts in this forum, unless maybe yours, had the original intention of making it over to your web page magazine. I was actually floored when I saw this. It is apparant we have come from two different worlds.

    Can you post the URL of the BLM website you mentioned that states it is illegal to hunt meteorites? Thanks.


    You are absolutely right about ONE thing Jim. We come from two very different worlds. And I believe (perhaps naively) that I can change them, with the help of LOTS of people.

    So far you've said about me:

    I'm preaching to the choir: No, I'm having a discussion with fellow meteorite hunters about an important issue on a meteorite hunting and collecting forum. Seems like a no brainer to me. Then again I'm preaching to the choir.

    I'm doing it wrong: Really? There's a rule book for what we're all doing here?

    I'm wasting my time: Really? I don't think I am. Sorry you feel that way.

    You accuse me of funneling traffic to my site or magazine. Yeah, so? I funnel LOTS of traffic back to Nugget Shooter, and have for years! ;)

    The link I posted actually went to my www.MeteoritesUSA.com website with a related article which I thought might be intrusive and assuming if I posted it here in it's entirety. It didn't link to my www.MHCMagazine.com magazine website. ;) And Yes, a link does have the effect of allowing one to click and go to another site for more information. YES! I absolutely intend to write about this issue in the magazine. ;)

    Were you actually insulted that I provided a link to more information about this issue on my site? So what's your point? Did you notice I linked back to this very Nugget Shooter thread too in that article, and I linked back to Nugget Shooter in many other articles on my site too. Do you seriously believe I did something wrong there? If so, well I don't know what to tell you Jim. ;)

    You would actually suggest to me that not only am I doing it wrong, you want me to change my business model. Well, that's kind of arrogant on your part. Wait, should I say, it's none of your business...? Or is that rude? Did I tell you that you were doing it wrong Jim?

    No, I said that the accusation you made was irresponsible, and insulting to reputable dealers and apparently you didn't like that, so you feel the need to attack me personally, and publicly, attack my business model, and tell me I'm wrong. Then you suggest I should change my websites and entire business model over to non-profit. Oh no! You're one of them aren't you? ;) Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think I will.

    You said: "The demographics will prove 90% of the people that might read your stuff and agree with it will do nothing."

    Jim, while you see the forest, you don't see the tree. You're forgetting something very important. According to your own numbers that means 10% will take action.

    I get over 100k people to my sites every year. If only 10% of those take action that's 10,000 people each year! Hmmm... But wait, you have the exponential growth rate (Moore's Law) applies indirectly to any industry. Especially the technology and media markets, of which my websites and magazine are firmly entrenched. The meteorite world is also affected by this so elementary and economic law of growth. That growth will double every two years roughly. Meaning that in 2 years there should be approximately 200,000 visitors to my sites. The numbers are below.

    YEAR: Visitors

    2010: 100,000

    2011: 150,000

    2012: 200,000

    2013: 300,000

    2014: 450,000

    The 10% conversion each year is accumulative.

    YEAR: Visitors = Action Takers!

    2010: 100,000 = 10,000

    2011: 150,000 = 15,000

    2012: 200,000 = 20,000

    2013: 300,000 = 30,000

    2014: 450,000 = 45,000


    TOTAL for 5 Years = 120,000

    So basically in 5 years according to your numbers I should have about 120,000 people to take action? Am I really wasting my time Jim?

    I don't think so.



    P.S. Can we stop wasting time now? Let's get back to the issue at hand. Meteorites!

  2. Eric,

    Are you a lawyer or something? Have you ever been at the legislature or speak in front of committee for what you beleive or assisted in creating law? Have you ever partcipated in your Parties election process or served as a board member in your counties political arena? Have you ever walked your town pounding on doors to get people to vote? What does your congressman say about all of this? If you are lawyer, which I do not think you are, you actually scare me as you have given almost your entire defense away.dry.gif Doesn't seem to wise to be giving away a defense so that the prosecusion can see you coming. Isn't that what you are doing? If you want to make a difference, I am sorry to say...you are preaching to the choir. Suggest you create an article and submit it to some legal journal somewhere so that the legal minds in this country become aware of this stuff or something a little more productive than this thread. Would not your time be better spent doing that? It's obvious you have researched all of this in great detail to not do something with it other than talk about it. Can you show me any case law other than old woman where a meteorite hunter was arrested or sited for hunting, selling, trading or bartering, have in possession meteorites in the USA? I think you need to come up with some case law where this stuff has been used against someone. I am not talking about being sited for trespass. I am still looking for this stuff. I honestly am interested and want to read the case law. Paranoia makes really bad law. Public institutions trade meteorites for their collections. I suppose that's illegal too or is the law selective?

    Tuscon representatives, during public news interviews claimed the show brought into the town 100 million dollars to be used within the community. If it is illegal to buy, sell, trade or barter meteorites or other minerals, ignorance to the law is no excuse and Tucson is promoting this as is Quartzsite and other large shows. Meteorites are hunted , bought, sold, traded every single day in the USA. I dont see anyone getting arrested for it. You can read it any way you want but my point is the issue is way bigger than a simple meteorite hunter or a small dealer selling meteorites. If this is stupid, stupid is as stupid does. Those people, making all the money, are doing what about this?? It's a really big picture.

    I am not negative, Eric. But you are probably right, I am probably stupid. Cant type or spell worth a darn either. I retired early and I am enjoying life and I earned my stupidity and I did not screw over anyone getting there. There is probably a law against that I have not heard of yet. I will, as I can, support where and when I can. I think, or I hope, everyone here would support, to some extent, legislation that would correct what is out there now.

    So, just for conversation sake, instead of opininated name calling, let's say I am a law maker. What are you going to give me as proof the law needs to be changed? You need to convince me my time would be worth pursuing a bill or a rider on a bill that would change law that might take years to complete and odds are it's such a small issue it may just never make it? Who would you suggest may help sponsor such legislation? Who is backing you? Which law makers have you contacted and met with to talk about this issue? What do those people think about it? How many people are being affected by this ... 5000, a million? What forward progess have you made sense this began? So far, I have two opinions.



    Hi Jim, Without getting into a pissing contest with you, I still think your accusation is irresponsible. Maybe I'm taking it too seriously or the wrong way, but to make a blanket accusation against all the reputable rock and gem dealers and the City of Tucson for illegal trade at the Tucson show, whether directly or indirectly isn't cool. The burden of proof is on the accuser. This is a public forum. You write something that could be considered an accusation of corruption and conspiracy against particular group of people, and then you ask me if I'm a lawyer? There are many reputable rock and gem dealers who might take offense to your accusations. I don't care to insult the dealers who provide such wonderful specimens to private collectors and science. Sure there are bad apples in every barrel, but the public will weed those out.

    What I care about is getting ALL sides of the story out there PUBLICLY regarding the USA meteorite/land issue. No I'm not tipping my hand, I'm not really giving up any secrets, or legal information/strategy that's not already out there. It's there for anyone to research and compile and form their own opinion. There's lots more where this came from. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I'm only giving my opinion.

    No I'm not a lawyer and I don't need to be. You could argue I'm an idiot, and you might be right. But, I could argue the same about anyone and I could be wrong. Who's right, who's wrong? No one, and we look like jerks if we try. Where would that get us? Nowhere really.

    I've never minced words or bit my tongue with ANYONE. Ask anyone that knows me. I really don't mind that what I say riles you. Really. It gets people talking on all sides of this issue. People are going to talk and you can't stop it. Keeping your mouth shut gets no one anywhere, and doesn't let everyone have all the facts to decide for themselves. I don't care what anyone thinks of me or my opinions. If I were afraid of public opinion I wouldn't say what I'm saying publicly.

    Let me make this as simple as I possibly can. The issue is NOT the Tucson show.

    You did ask one valid question that I'll answer. "Can you show me any case law other than old woman where a meteorite hunter was arrested or sited for hunting, selling, trading or bartering, have in possession meteorites in the USA?"

    Nope... So I guess it's non issue then right? We can all pack our stuff and go home.

    Look, it's not illegal to hunt, recover, buy, sell, trade, or barter meteorites. Period. There is NO law that specifically forbids it. The rift is where the BLM govern federal land and is unjustifiably using antiquated and irrelevant laws to govern something which has no laws governing it.

    That's the whole point of this. People are afraid. They're afraid they will get their meteorites taken away from them by the BLM/Smithsonian if they admit that they found them on federal land, or if it's a spectacular find. It's not a conspiracy, it's a fact.

    The government (BLM and Smithsonian) probably couldn't care less about Ordinary Chondrites. The point is there's no law that specifically says you can't recover meteorites on federal land, but people are mistakenly thinking there is because they are scared to get their meteorite confiscated due to the precedence set with the Old Woman meteorite.

    Even this logic isn't justified because there are hundreds and hundreds of meteorites found on federal land which are classified meaning someone had to find them.

    The government only cares when it's an "object of scientific interest" and they have used that selectively once with the Old Woman meteorite. I have not seen another case where this has happened so blatantly and people have been afraid of it happening again ever since. The government doesn't care, until it cares. And that's wrong.

    What I'm saying is just part of the whole story, and the bigger picture.

    We all benefit from meteorite hunting, recovery and collection. People should not be so afraid of losing meteorites they found because it's NOT illegal to find them.

    What is questionable is whether someone can sell a meteorite that was found on federal land. This isn't very clear accept that you need a permit to sell any "mineral" found on BLM land. But the mineral laws are inadequate for meteorites. Seems silly to lobby the government for more laws. Right?

    Even when you try to apply the highly inadequate/irrelevant Mineral Laws to meteorites, they just don't work. Yes meteorites are rocks. But they consist of multiple minerals. How do you handle that?

    Where the problem comes in, is the BLM offices I've contacted don't know. Most times you call you get an intern on the phone who can't really answer any questions. Sometimes you'll luck out and get a geologist on the phone, but even the geologists seem not up to speed on meteorites. No offense to the geologists out there of course, but I've spoken with numerous geologists who know nothing about meteorites. Their job is rocks and minerals, assigning permits, determining whether a mineral is locatable for mining claim purposes, etc.

    No one has ever been able to tell me decisively whether a meteorite is falls under the mineral permitting laws. Nor has there been an instance where someone applied for a permit to sell meteorites found on federal land as far as I know. This is due in part to the BLM websites which state that meteorites are illegal to collect on BLM lands. This is only a POLICY and not LAW. It's really a catch 22. No one will apply for a permit because it says on the BLM websites, and is "common knowledge", even though inaccurate, that meteorites are illegal to collect on BLM land. Hmmm? A rather perplexing conundrum.

    And before you argue that it's simple. It is, I agree. But the solution to the problem that does not exist is complex.

    Figure that one out!

    It could be as simple as challenging the BLM policy. BLM policy is NOT legislated law, therefore, one might go out to the desert, find a meteorite on BLM land, and apply for a permit to sell it and see where the cards fall.

    I haven't heard of anyone doing that. Has anyone done that yet?



  3. Seems to me there are 1000's of dealers selling rocks of all kinds. The City of Tucson, an apparent co-conspirator, who boasts making 100 million dollars in the illegal trade, bartering, buying and selling of rocks of all kinds should get nailed prior to any amateur hunter pursuing his God given right to roam the earth and the right to pursue happiness.

    Seems to me if the feds had any real interest, they would go after the Councilmen of Tucson and then all the hotels and motels who are also co-conspirators. And, then shut down the Quartzsite show too. What we need to also know is who supported these laws and if they are still in office get them out. Secondly, we need to find who was in office and let these laws happen and vote them out too! Seems we keep re-electing the same people....for decades....who are part of the problem, not the solution. When have we ever heard from any politician who asked for help in stopping a bill?

    Forgive me, but it seems that accusing the city of Tucson of $100 Million dollars of illegal trade isn't very wise. Are you really saying that Jim? Am I reading that wrong?

    I think the dollar figure you're talking about includes sales by dealers of perfectly legal rocks, minerals and fossils. Seems pretty irresponsible to accuse anyone of illegal trade without proof.

    Not to mention the bad idea of including it in a discussion about meteorites which draws an unrelated negative correlation. That's just plain "less than smart" in my opinion. Your post paints a dark picture.

    Many reputable people (hunters/dealers/collectors) are working very hard to promote responsible meteorite hunting, recovery and collection. And then people make posts like this that can be read wrong by the public who aren't in the know. It's bad enough that the media gets it wrong so often, but when there's negative information and posts like yours within a thread regarding meteorite law and the great land debate, it seems like a very bad thing to do.

    Maybe I'm just reading your post wrong? Point being others might too...



  4. Pardon a newbie for resurrecting this old post.

    I'm wondering what's so far fetched about a mining claim for meteorites in a strewn field?

    I'm thinking a strewn field is analagous to a gold placer deposit. It's not where the mineral formed, but where it wound up through natural processes. Claims are filed and proved up on placer mine all the time, why not a strewn field? The meteorite wasn't formed there, but wound up there through natural processes and was found, "located", and can then be mined.

    Hi EDD270

    I think the logic and court case determination is that meteorites are not a locatable mineral :unsure: . Because there is no indicating geology indicative of there presents and occurance :huh: . They are only a random event :inocent: . They are treated as personal property and belong to the land owner, and not falling under mineral rights :whaaaa: !! What I don't get is the public lands don't apparently belong to the public anymore and are completely under the control of the bureaucacy we entrust to look after them for us :shrug: ?? I think :hmmmmm: ?? Happy Huntin John B.

    I starting writing and couldn't stop. ;)

    Instead of posting the whole thing here and taking up too much room, please read my response to this thread and question here:


    Thanks, and I welcome your comments.



  5. Hi Drone,

    It's important that while still in the field, you take an in-situ picture, and record GPS cordinates. If you've found something new or unusual, this will be important for science, if it's yet another common chondrite from the strewnfield of a known find or fall, you'll want that information for provenance, mapping your finds, and most importantly, memories of great adventure. After you get your specimens home, you should clean them gently with soap, water, and a brush. Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions. I like to use an old toothbrush because the bristles clean well without damaging the stone. Next, after drying, you should weigh your specimen, and write it down for your records. (not that you won't remember the weights of favorite meteorites - I'll always remember the weight of my first) Now that your stone is clean, re-examine it, possibly with a loupe because, many features that were not visable before, may now be seen. Also, you may want to photograph it again, for a "before and after" comparison. As far as classification goes, all coldfinds and new meteorites should be sent to a reputable, and established university meteorite lab for classification. The established rule is to send in 20 grams or 20 percent. You can find someone on this forum to help you get it cut. If your stone is from a known strewnfield, use common sense; unless your specimen is radically different from the other 10,000 stones found there, do you think they really want or need to classify it. If you've found more than one from a location, you may want to file a window into the meteorite, or even cut it with a rock saw, or wet tile-saw just to show off the interior. Or you might just want to display it. You might use cases, cabinets, tripods, boxes, jars, shelves, etc. Methods of display are only limited by your imagination. Any way that other valuable collectables can be displayed, will probably work with meteorites.


    Ben's right... I think most meteorite hunters will agree, it's important to take a photo of the meteorite find before you remove it from it's resting place, even though that may not be where it originally landed. It's also a good educational image for visual ID to help "train" your eye to see meteorites in the field.



  6. Thanks for the post, and the kind words Dale.

    I've received many private emails from lots of people within the community and I'm flattered and humbled by the outpouring of support.

    If you haven't yet seen the magazine yet. Please feel free to take a look here:

    Free Preview Premiere Issue Digital Preview: http://www.mhcmagazine.com/current-issue/july-2010/ (email for password)

    Thank you all for your support and encouragement!



  7. UPDATE: The Digital Edition is LIVE online! Read The Digital Edition To view the online version send me a private message or email and I'll send you the password. If you like it, please feel free to SUBSCRIBE and leave a comment. mention this post, and get 10% off your subscription.

    Feedback on the mag is welcomed and encouraged.

    (note: people who subscribe after July 31st will start their subscription with the September issue; You can still enjoy July's premiere online through our Digital Edition)

    POST YOUR EVENTS: Meteorite hunting season is coming up FAST. If you have an hunt, event or outing planned please let me know. I'm setting up an events section in the September issue of the magazine and am hoping to include some public events for our new hunter/subscribers. Also, your event will be in the Print Edition as well as the Digital Edition. This gives you lots more exposure than the print version letting more people know that might want to attend.

    Thanks everyone.



  8. As promised, the WI Meteorite Strewnfield Map has been listed on my site and is available for viewing and download.


    After much work and the combined efforts of countless meteorite hunters, collectors, dealers and scientist’s data. The Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield Map is done (more coordinates will be added as they come in). This is a work in progress. Thanks go out to all those who've contributed to help build the most accurate publicly available map of the Wisconsin meteorite strewnfield known to date. More importantly, special thanks and appreciation to all the WI landowners who were so gracious and kind to allow us to hunt. Without them the compilation of data gathered would not be possible.




  9. Karl: Give me a call if you want. I'll PM my number.

    Eric: Thanks for the info. I read your post on Met List awhile ago where you noted your tips and tricks on cutting. Very informative. I want you to know that I did email you, prior to posting here, but rec'd no response. In the future, I hope to be able to use your cutting services.

    I ended up putting a dremel tool with a diamond blade in a vise, and having the spousal unit spray distilled water on the blade as I cut various samples to send to the lab. Much to my surprise, it actually worked.

    As noted above, I borrowed a tile saw for cutting an unidentified rock that is 2.5" in height: Big Rock

    Best regards,


    Hi Daryl, You're welcome for the info, and so sorry for not responding to your email from the Met-List. I must have missed it. I literally get hundreds of emails "per day" I have to sift through, totally my fault for missing it. I wasn't ignoring you. If you have any questions, just send them over, and I'll try to help as best I can, if I can;t answer something, I'll refer you to someone who can. I'm always available to help.

    Talk to you soon...

    Fred, Where's my neighbor? ;) You live close to Escondido? L.A. maybe? ;) I know there's a more of us meteorite huntin' types down these parts on SoCal, but I only know of a couple.



  10. Yes, "Wet" tile saws will cut meteorites. They have a built-in "cheap" coolant system (water) and they're an inexpensive alternative to expensive lapidary equipment. Stone meteorites technically are just rocks with little bits of iron in them, so a good wet tile or masonry saw will cut them with ease, only your blades will dull just a little bit faster is all due to the iron. Which is the case with any saw blade you use for cutting meteorites.

    A wet tile saw works, but throw away the blade that came with it. The cut loss is too great on the factory blades. Don't EVER use them unless you don't care about cut loss. Buy yourself an MK or other good quality diamond lapidary blade. I personally like the Barranca Diamond 301 .025 lapidary blade. It works well and leaves a nice cut surface which requires less sanding/polishing. When I'm cutting really small stuff, or classified meteorites, I like to use my thin .012 kerf "Meteorite" blade. It's super thin, has minimal loss, and makes even smoother cuts. Also, the slower you cut, the smoother the cut even on the thicker blades.

    I know professionals who use wet tile saws and masonry/metal chop saws to cut meteorites. They work just fine; with the right blades. It's really NOT about the saw, it's about the blade you use. You don't "need" specialty lapidary equipment to "cut" meteorites. Save money on your saw, spend the money on the blades. You'll save 50% or more over expensive lapidary equipment, and with the savings you can buy more blades and more meteorites.

    Now so I don't get yelled at by all the professional lapidary dudes out there. Lapidary equipment has it's purpose and you do need some specialty equipment when cutting, prepping, sanding, polishing, buffing etc. In my opinion there's 4 saws within the price range of the hobbyist that are good for cutting meteorites. Notice I didn't include wire saws. Wire Saws are for a whole different professional level of cutting I'm not familiar with, there are a few pros who use them. They are expensive ($20k-$30k) and aren't for the novice.

    DISCLAIMER: Do not cut meteorites! Cut meteorites at your own risk!

    Small 'WET" Tile Saw for small material - Hobbyist

    Medium Chop Saw for mid sized meteorites

    Large Band Saw for big iron and stone meteorites

    Large 10" to 20" Slab Saw

    Slab Saws are expensive, but you can find them used for bargain prices) I've seen them used for $350 to $1500 depending on brand and condition.

    Hope this helps...



    P.S. By the way, I'm just north of San Diego in Escondido.

  11. hi Eric

    I enjoyed our long phone chat last night. I'm pretty set on my ideas and I'm not sure how to proceed. It will depend on PLP or another similar organization. Or the first arrestee or cited hunter !! I'm going to persue contact with those I know in the labs and universities and see their ideas or feelings on this issue. On another note exact locations of finds really aren't that critical on most finds. On strewnfields that's a totally different story in trying to determine gradiation of sizes and direction. Obviously the larger masses will be out at the far end by themselves and it's an indicator of where to look. I think the Nomanclature committee and it's members really use location info so they aren't reclassifing the same material over and over again. I always GPS my finds of significance or anything new then there is no confusion if I'm in unfamiliar areas. Face it probably many of the finds that are made are of significant terrestrial age and weather and other unknown forces may have moved many pieces significant distances from thier original landing site.

    Happy Huntin John B.

    Hi John, Ditto! I was pleasantly surprised with your call enjoyed the conversation. You truly are knowledgeable. You gave me some perspectives that I hadn't looked at yet, and thanks for sharing your stories with me and congrats again on the asteroid! I remember hearing about it a while back, but hearing it from you added unique insight.

    The PLP might be a good idea, not familiar with them. Perhaps they could do something to help. I do hope though it doesn't come down to having to defend some poor guy/gal who gets arrested or cited on this issue.

    Like I said to you on the phone, I think getting participation from those at the universities and other educational institutions is also important. We're actually doing thisFOR the science, AND the the protection of the rights of meteorite hunters. The universities need information too. They don't have to accept it, but once we start compiling it, it will become a valuable resource.

    I can see the logic and relative importance of recording data on single cold finds not being as crucial. But I still think it's a best practice nonetheless. ;) Strewnfields go without saying, all finds should be cataloged if possible. Old/Cold finds on dry lakes, washes, aluvial deposits, hillsides, blowouts, etc. could have moved from their original fall location, so technically unless you find and pair it with another, you're right, it's not as important to record coordinates, yet still important. Who writes the best practices of any given anything anyway? Or do we make them up as we go along? ;)


  12. I asked Jim why not on the ones under 100 grams, since there are so many more of them, and he said "they (ASU) don't want them".


    Curious why ASU didn't want the coordinates of Franconia meteorites under 100g?

    "...If the authorities think what I've found is special scientifically, then they'd be willing to pay fair market price for the 20 grams or 20 percent needed for analysis and type specimen. if not, it's mine..."

    Sounds fair...

    "...They can have the coordinates if they actually want all of them...."

    I think recording coordinates should be "required", but only if there is an allowance for the finders ownership of the meteorite. It's best practices of meteorite hunting, and it provides accurate data. But this will only work if the fear of losing your meteorite to the government disappears.



  13. As for a tax and a permit... Hell if I have to do this I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!


    I think I can agree that the tax thing isn't viable. However, I hope you would reconsider a Meteorite Hunting License. Would you dredge for gold without a permit? Would you hunt deer, rabbit, elk, or any other game without a hunting license. There are also many minerals which you must get a permit to locate, mine, or sell. What makes meteorites different?

    Your comment "...I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!..."

    Del, you and I, and everyone else knows that this is probably not responsible, and will hurt the science. You're a professional, you hunt meteorites for fun and collection. What purpose does hiding your location data serve anyone? I'm only asking because I think this is a "cut your nose off to spite your face" gut reaction to a tax. I empathize with you on that reaction.

    I agree the tax thing is probably not the best idea. But read my post above. It doesn't have to be a tax. It could be a volunteer donation to the grant fund. All license fee funds could go directly to the Meteorite Research Grant Fund.

    Now let me ask you and EVERYONE else this question.

    Would you as a meteorite hunter, buy a Meteorite Hunting License (to hunt federal land legally and own the meteorite you find) if you knew that the proceeds from that license fee goes to help protect and preserve our lands, while at the same time provide funding for grants for continued and advanced meteorite research and science?



  14. A meteorite tax is idiotic, silly,and unenforceable. Besides I'm sure DC could do without the $2000.00 a year it might bring in... Seriously - a meteorite tax?? We have enough silly tax laws as it is.. The last thing we need is another precedent for some idiot in DC to think up. Meteorites now. What's next? A tax for walking on government property? A tax on rock collecting? A tax on mushroom hunting? I could go and on.

    Donating meteorites to a scientific institution is a great idea as long as they actually study them and not put into a box in the basement never to be seen again. Remember the last scene in the movie- "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? That's what happens to most of the donations.


    Steve, Please take no offense to what I say, but doing nothing about it solves no problems at all. We're trying to fix something that's broken, unfair and possibly not legal with regard to the Old Woman meteorite and meteorite hunting on federal land in general.

    Your comment "...Personally- I think things should stay exactly as they are. Finders keepers..." is not really realistic because that's NOT how it is. There is no Finders Keepers law... Right now if you find a meteorite on federal land, the BLM mistakenly thinks it belongs to the Smithsonian. NOWHERE in any legislation does it say this is law.

    (Read my comment below to Fred about the Finders Keepers issue)

    Your "leave it alone" comment is also defeatist. It stops your fight before you start, and it's not an option to actually effect a positive change.

    Also, I do agree that a donating meteorites to scientific institutions is good, but only if there are guarantees in place that the meteorite will actually be studied, placed on display, or otherwise "used" in an educational manner. Sticking the meteorite in a drawer to never see the light of day where no member of the public can see it seems silly to me, and serves no purpose other than protecting the meteorite, and adding to institutional collection of meteorite specimens they already have. If they don't have a type sample specimen, then that's a different story.

    Maybe a meteorite tax is idiotic...;) You could be right about that. But lets back up a second. Your mention of the $2000 per year it might bring in, brings up a good point. Multiply that $2000 by ALL the meteorite hunters that will hunt and find meteorites, report them and pay the tax. Forget about the government getting this cash. This money would go directly into a Research Grant Fund that could supply universities and private researchers with money needed for continued meteorite research. Seems logical to me, and solves some problems of not having much needed funding to advance the science.

    Yes there are lots of taxes already, and maybe a meteorite tax is stupid. Maybe it shouldn't be a tax!

    You could elect to 'donate' a percentage of the proceeds of your meteorite sale (if you ever decide to sell it) to the Grant Fund... This could be a check box on the "Meteorite Hunting License"...? Maybe that would be better. Make it elective, since not everyone sells their finds anyway. You could also donate directly to the Grant Fund as well.

    Tax no... Donate yes...? ;)

    Oh, Steve, I ain't wishing...just commenting. You do know that the way things are...finders keepers only works if what you find is either common or kept secret. The friendly "crats" of the world will come down on you like the plagues of Eygpt if you find anything they want...the Old woman is only one example...

    Eric, this is a discussion and I think you have reasoned out a fairly god plan; but; and no one seems to care for a "tax' which would be burdensome and difficult to collect..(would not want to make the Tax-person work too hard.)

    Have you considered a system similar to the one in England that is used for artifacts. If the Government wants a find based on solid criteria they pay, if they don't want it the finder keeps it...seems fair and eliminates any motive to cheat.

    Of course you could just ignore this and my previous comments...


    Hi Fred, I'm not ignoring you... ;)

    Finders keepers on 'federal land' is getting close to what I think would be a good law. (note there is no finders keepers law right now) If one were to be placed in effect, there needs to be a CLEAR distinction and separation between private land and federal land with that type of law with regard to meteorites. There can be no ambiguity which will allow a vague misinterpretation to be carried over to or have any authority over private land rights. Period.

    I think it can be done though. At the same time, I still believe the government should get a small and 'fair' percentage of any meteorite found on federal land. 10% or 20% or whatever is fair to you and them. If you want the government to rescind this idiotic misinterpretation of the Act and allow you to own the meteorite you rightfully find on federal land you should at least give something back to them for allowing it.

    Just my opinion...

    Eric I think you've got a good start there but need to think it through a lot more. One huge hole in your idea- most of the meteorite dealers sell NWA's, this seems to be their bread and butter. Fred brings up a very good point about Englands law for artifacts and I tend to agree with this. Their law seems resonable to me because they work with artifact hunters and not against them.

    As for a tax and a permit... Hell if I have to do this I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!


    Hi Del, Thanks for the compliments on the idea, but if I think more on it I might go insane... :zapped: The idea for the MHA however is already planned.

    With regard to the Meteorite Law. Yes of course, that needs to be thought out much more to make it fair for everyone involved. It's a start for now...

    I'm a little confused by your relating meteorite dealers selling NWAs...? What does NWAs have to do with what we're talking about? Just asking, as I really can't see the connection you're making. Are you referring to the lack of classification and location data with regard to NWA meteorites, and that meteorite dealers are buying and selling meteorites which have no real provenance?

    Just as a side note... Dealing in meteorites is not what the MHA organization is about. One has nothing to do with the other? The MHA is not for the "meteorite dealer", it's for meteorite hunter. Though anyone who would like to join the MHA and learn about meteorite hunting can. There is a separation there. Besides, the IMCA is for dealers. Let's say you join the MHA (which I hope you do by the way) and if you ever decided to sell any of your finds would that make you a dealer? Maybe by definition. Some dealers also hunt meteorites... NWA and others. Would we exclude them or prevent them from becoming members of the MHA. No. Anyone interested in meteorite hunting and meteorite science can join. Even lawyers... ;)




  15. Hi Again Eric

    You can get a permit !! You could go to most Universities that study them and get them to apply for you. They get all the meteorites and data and you get the wonderful warm fuzzy experience !! The good thing is you get to deduct all of your expenses on tax day, unless Obama changes the tax rules. But don't expect them to pay for any of your expenses because most are cutting expenses and raising pay for pensions and tenures :whaaaa: . Happy Huntin John B.

    Ok... I've said what I have to say. So, you can get a permit, big deal. What's the point of a permit if you can;t keep the meteorites you find? What's your proposal? What's your "plan of action" to fix this situation that allows the gov. to take your meteorites?

    I'm not challenging you, just give everyone something to grab onto rather than portraying things like you're arguing with me for the fun of it.

    If you're agreeing with me on the idiocy of the misinterpretation of the Act, then propose a solution instead of arguing points which don't really answer questions. All your points have been noted and discussed in the past. What's NEW!?


  16. Hi Eric

    I guess your not going to sue me for liable anymore ??? :tisk-tisk: The way the legal minds from the U of A explained the old meteorite collecting policy to us was. Similar to the old collecting rules posted on the BLM and the Forest Service web sites with one possible exception. The old rules ONLY allowed you to collect and posses for personal use only 25lbs & one piece per day and a maximum of 250 Lbs per year. NOT TO BE SOLD, BARTERED OR TRADED. Few if any hunters/collectors follow those guidelines and now we all suffer the loss. Therefor you don't own or have clear title or licence to any meteorites taken on Public Lands, you only have custody with restrictions or a limited licence to posses. The only possible exception the U of A lawyers thought there might be was on the original pieces that a piece of was taken for study and the balance returned to the finder. Those and only those individual pieces they thought would be granted legal title ?? But I guess that is untested law. In the early days of the Gold Basin Hunt the U of A took random pieces from our BLM finds and sent them off to the Smithsonian in some arangement Dr Kring worked out with them. All the pieces we found on the Rec Area with our permits were recorded, turned into the U of A and sent to the Smithsonian. I for one am for total personal freedoms and little or no regulations from our government ( anti Obama crap) but rules are rules and the IMCA and dealers and most hunters in general could care less or self regulate their own behavior. Face it it's been a pretty unwatched and then a TV show brings it to the greenies attention about all the money these dealers/hunters are getting rich on, God forbid someone actually hurts a clump of grass while hunting space rocks !!

    Eric the only hope we have for bieng able to hunt public lands legally is get rid of this socialistic dork and his green regeim and vote in someone who can deregulate the BLM, and Forest Circus and a ton of other bloated government crap. Or we get someone like PLP to take them on and spend a boat load of cash with a small to slim chance of winning our rights back. At the current rate of our losses in personal freedoms with this huge government that the Imbosouls(sp?) on the meteorite list wanted so bad and how horrible Bush was they deserve what they got. Also your idea of taxing the sale is stupid !! I mean if your a legitimate dealer you already pay taxes on the profit of the sale anyways or as a lot do just don't declare it !! I'm either too stupid or too honest to belong to either of these groups.

    Happy Huntin John B.

    Hi John, No I'm not planning on suing you for libel right now. Maybe later... ;) I can look past all the crap and personal stuff I think to the greater good of the issue at hand. This is bigger than me or you, or the guy down the street. I'm a realist, and think I can separate fact from emotion. I'll deal with your comment later. ;) You know you can still call me... still waiting on that call. I'd be happy to speak with you. ;)

    You make some very good and valid points. "...The old rules ONLY allowed you to collect and posses for personal use only 25lbs & one piece per day and a maximum of 250 Lbs per year. NOT TO BE SOLD, BARTERED OR TRADED...."

    This is for minerals... not meteorites. All the laws and rules you mentioned are. For lack of a better law, they use the mineral laws. Which makes perfect sense because there is NO meteorite law.

    It makes no sense, now. It made sense back in the Old Days, but now things are changing, you''re absolutely right. Publicity and awareness is increasing with regard to meteorites. This increase was predicted over 2 years ago. People didn't believe it then, but now things have changed! Awareness is increasing, you can't stop it. The ball is already rolling and has been gaining momentum for years now. It's time for a fair meteorite law I think. The government will continue to infringe on everyone's hunting rights if we continue to ignore the issue. Hoping it will go away is not going to help things.

    I say lobby for a FAIR and specific Meteorite Law which provides for what we've mentioned here in this thread that allows meteorite hunting on federal land by private sector meteorite hunters, researchers and scientists.

    No one will argue against the fact that "meteorites aren't just rocks". They truly are special, just like gold, or diamonds when considering monetary value, and they are scientifically valuable because they can tell us so much about our universe, and they are intrinsically valuable to us because of the feeling they give us when we hold them, collect them and study them ourselves.

    So given that we can most likely agree that meteorites are not ORDINARY rocks, why then should they governed by common mineral laws? Or worse a misinterpreted Act.

    It makes ZERO sense. That's what's stupid! Not my proposed "Meteorite Tax"... ;)

    So what, businesses pay taxes on sales. But if you want to truly advance and protect this science why not have a fair and special tax on meteorites that will help fund continued research and scientific study? Or if you don't like the word 'tax' call it a volunteer donation which will help fund the advancement of the science.

    This is about give and take. Give some, take some. Give more, get more.

    Share and we all win!



  17. Also with regard to research grants, sponsorship and funding for scientific studies...

    Meteorite research grants can be issued by both the MHA and the Government/Smithsonian for the study of meteorites, expeditions etc. The government through the Smithsonian could very well distribute grants funded by my proposed "Meteorite Tax" and license fees collected through the BLM.

    The Meteorite Hunting Association could supply funding in the form of research grants to scientists and institutions as well! The MHA's funding for grants would be raised by donations since it will be "non-profit" organization. These would be tax deductible donations of course. If we cannot form as a non-profit, or are somehow denied non-profit status by the government, no worries, donations and funding can still be gained from private sources and investments.

    Other Programs that could be funded by the MHA

    MHA sponsored research and educational grants to educational institutions

    Educational programs - Public Outreach

    College Level Meteorite Education Funding - Curriculum

    Meteorite related educational publications; Books, magazines, pamphlets, newsletters etc.

    Scientific Research Programs - i.e. Building a private sector nationwide fireball camera network to compile fireball data and information on fireballs and meteorite falls. I've already designed the concept for the camera system and have the support of MANY meteorite hunters for this!

    Funding for a complete meteorite studies and testing lab

    Mapping strewnfields etc. Sharing of information to compile more accurate data. I did this with the WI meteorite strewnfield just recently when I requested the help and find data of many other meteorite hunters which were more than generous to share their own find coordinates. I compiled all this data into what I believe to be the most accurate and thorough map of the WI meteorite strewnfield to date. Each person that shared their meteorite coordinates with me, received the whole map which consists of about 60-70 exact GPS coordinates of WI meteorite finds submitted by 10-20 meteorite hunters. A few people did not share though in spite of the requests and that they would receive a copy of the map, but we have a very good picture of the strewnfield now because this effort was made, data was shared and people cooperated. More accurate information is available because of this effort, more meteorites were found because people shared early on, and we learned more about the strewnfield.

    That's one BIG reason why I'm promoting the creation of the MHA. Share information, join forces and the meteorite science will advance exponentially!

    This is VERY doable! I've been working on this plan for well over a year, probably closer to 2 years since the inception of the original idea for this organization. Ask others in this community. I've been promoting this idea for a LONG time.

    It's time to do it NOW! You either do it, or you don't...



  18. As a retired Fed, with criminal enforcement, but not in FS or BLM law, experience may I suggest:

    The guy who got ticketed should go to court, request a jury trial and simultaneously file a claim in the US Court of Claims for return of his wrongfully confiscated property. He'll need to do some serious research to find a competent attorney who is knowledgeable in Court of Claims cases, which is vastly different from the US District Courts.

    His case in District Court, or maybe Magistrate court depending on severity of the charge, should be that he violated no law, that the policy is wrong, that the clear plain wording of the statute does not support the charge, and that his property, located minerals, was wrongfully seized. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute enacted by Congress is controlling whenever there is a conflict between law and regulation, even more so with mere policy. The Court of Claims is the court people should go to when their government has wrongfully taken their stuff, and has resulted in some very favorable (to the private person, not the government) rulings regarding water rights in the West.

    The sad truth is there's really only two ways to get this dreadful misinterpretation of law changed. Through the Courts, or by act of Congress. In this administration, it's a crap shoot either way. That's why a formal organization to represent meteorite prospectors is so vital. They can do the ground work, find competent attornies, and also filter for the best cases that come up, and even combine them into a class action suit for maximum bang for the buck. They can also lobby Congress for legislation which would forestall the need for Court cases. All of which costs a lot of money, which would be provided by dues paying members and donations and investments.

    If Metorite prospectors are not willing to band together and put up the money in their own defense, then tough luck for them all. There are many organizations which have successfully used this method for many years. Why not us, too?

    Hi, I agree that hunters need to come together as a group. A legal entity with a common goal and purpose. Meteorite hunters and researchers/scientists should in fact band together. The MHA (Meteorite Hunting Association) is for all these purposes.

    Protecting our rights as meteorite hunters

    Protecting and advancing the science of meteoritics with responsible meteorite hunting

    Promoting the allowance for private education study and collection of meteorites

    Promoting meteorite education to the public through creating outreach programs and MHA member group outings/meetings

    Promoting a positive image for the private sector meteorite hunter/researcher

    Lobbying the government for positive and mutually beneficial change in the unfair and misinterpreted law

    Creating a FUN and positive organization for the advancement of the science

    We've already started forming this "non-profit" group. We must adhere to government rules when forming this organization and there are certain steps we must make and there's paperwork to file.

    We're inviting those with the skills and talents needed as founding members, and forming what will become the board of directors. From there we move forward with funding. Right now I'm funding most of it from my own pocket.

    This is all up to the meteorite hunters, researchers and scientists who wish to see this science advance in a positive way. Stick your head in the stand, do nothing, and watch your rights be trampled, lose your meteorites to the government, and watch the science be stifled and slowed.

    OR, Stand together and build an organization that will promote what we love! Don't you want the public to know what you know about meteorites? Don't you want the public to realize and feel your passion and love for meteorites, meteorite hunting, and the science?

    Then join the MHA, and let your voice be heard.



  19. Hi Eric

    Have you ever sold, bought or linked to those who sell, trade or barter gold basin or franconia meteorites ?? Do you know thier heritage with certainty ?? Those are just a couple of examples ?? I could go on with Canyon Diablo, Odessa, some glorietta and oddles of drylake and affiliated strewnfield USA finds, do you know thier heritage ??

    John B.

    Your questions lead one to believe that you do not support hunting meteorites on federal land. The very reason we're having this discussion. I think what the real issue is this.

    I think you believe wholeheartedly in our rights as US citizens to hunt meteorites on federal land and you feel that meteorites hunters should have every right to hunt for and recover meteorites on federal land without fear of confiscation. Where you dissent is with the actual selling of such meteorites. You don't like the commercialization of these meteorites.

    I would argue that without the "ownership" of such meteorites (notice I didn't say sell) being with the meteorite hunters who find them, otherwise it's pointless to hunt for, locate, and recover them. No one wins when you restrict recovery... You get nothing, the BLM (gov.) gets nothing, and the Smithsonian gets nothing. Meteorites will be left in the field, and science will be stifled.

    If there is to be any positive forward movement with this issue, the meteorite hunter/researcher/scientist hunting on federal land should own a majority percentage of the meteorite he/she finds, with an allowance for a portion of the meteorite found be required by law to be donated for study to the Smithsonian. Not the whole meteorite! Only a portion adequate for study, classification and display. There is NO reason whatsoever for the whole meteorite to be "confiscated" by the government, or donated to the Smithsonian. They don't own it, nor do they need the whole meteorite for classification nor for display.

    If you truly want to do something about the misinterpretation of the Act, want to truly advance this science, and you believe that meteorite hunters should "own" the meteorites they find on federal land, you must except that the lesser of the two evils in your mind that is the selling of something that they own. You may not like people selling meteorites, but where do you draw the line. At your whole collection?, at certain specimens? Specimens found on federal land, state land, private land etc.?

    I believe there is a happy medium here that will make this a WIN/WIN situation all around for everyone involved that will provide some motivation for all parties.


    A split of the meteorite with regard to who finds it. With a small portion of the meteorite required to be donated to the Smithsonian for study and display. The meteorite MUST be cut for classification anyway, and the Smithsonian will get their sample.

    Here's an "example" of what could be in place. Just like any type of hunting, perhaps we should license meteorite hunting. The government, BLM could issue permits to hunt for meteorites. A Meteorite Hunting License so to speak. This way the government gets funds directly from those who wish to hunt. This coupled with the meteorite hunters being able to own the meteorites which they find is what will make this work.


    License meteorite hunting on federal and state land - A modest annual license/permit fee OR a reasonable per location license/permit fee?

    Call it the "Share Act"

    Hunter/Researcher - 80% - They own any meteorite they find on federal land! Therefore they can do anything they want with their share.

    Government - 1%-5% Meteorite Tax and/or Meteorite Sale Permit Fee similar to a mineral sale permit issued by the BLM. If the meteorite is sold on the collectors market the government of course gets their share.

    Smithonian - 20% For study, collection and display.

    Create a "Meteorite Science Grant Fund"

    If meteorites are sold by the private sector finder, the government gets their share %1-5% in the form of a low and fair Meteorite Tax on the total sale price, plus a Meteorite Sale Permit Fee.

    All, these funds could be placed in trust, or a scientific research foundation or grant fund. This will allow for continued study, and provide motivation for study and education. I personally believe a grant fund is better, because then institutions could apply for grants for study of meteoritics, field expeditions, etc.

    This model will allow for EVERYONE to win.

    Use the commercialization to your advantage instead of fighting it. Allow the ownership and sale of meteorites, but tax it, and create a fund which provides for the advancement of the science based on those gov. fees and private/institutional collection sales.

    Rules of the "Meteorite Hunting License" could be.


    Record all coordinates of all finds.

    Insitu photos of all finds.

    Name, Time, Date, of find.

    File all this information with the BLM and add to the USGS (Meteoritical Society) Meteorite Database

    This is already done by responsible meteorite hunters/researchers anyway!

    This model actually creates a built in scientific protection for meteorites, keeps the motivation and right to private sector meteorite hunting intact, provides meteorite material for scientific study/classification/collection, provides funds for the continued institutional grants for meteorite expeditions and study, allows the private sector to hunt for meteorites on federal land, while at the same time it advances the science of meteoritics!

    A WIN/WIN all around.



  20. Hi Fred

    I haven't ignored you ?? You actually brought an interesting perspective to this whole arguement. Everything on this earth, plants (including government mental giants), all animals ,metal, water, gold nuggets and even the dreaded carbon dioxide all originated by meteorites or acreted objects in early space. Just where do these guys draw the line ????? Eric I will call you but I refuse to join your group as with the IMCA there are illegal activities within that group as well. That's were this whole greif started because of commercialization.

    Happy Huntin John B.

    John, Refusing to join my group or the IMCA because of illegal activity? That's a very BIG and completely irresponsible statement to make, and probably libel.

    Your statement: "...I refuse to join your group as with the IMCA there are illegal activities within that group..." and when you ad the "...as well..." that implies to the uninformed that there's something illegal within our group which hasn't even completely formed yet. I very much hope I'm misunderstanding what you're saying! Please do not add confusion on this issue. I understand your opposition to commercialization, and I respect that wholeheartedly... It's your opinion, and you're entitled to it.

    However your statement more than suggests some sort of illegal activity with the organization I'm forming. Unless I'm misreading the meaning of your statement. ???

    Please explain, and correct this VERY public statement.



  21. Hi Eric

    I have read all of these determinations and court cases years ago and as near as I can tell you are spot on. Jim Kreigh and I had a couple of sit downs with the legal minds at the U of A years ago and they were of similar agreement. But then again I ain't an attorney !! I have not recieved a reply from the PLP ( Public Lands for the People) which usually like to fight this kind of stuff. Maybe if we could pool some donations of consiquence we could entice them to take on this fight. Getting it in front of a judge. I'm not a member of the IMCA primarilly because I don't deal in meteorites and never considered selling any and my collection is mostly self found. But I should think many of these members and other interested parties would pony up some bucks for a legal determination. Remember our strength is in numbers. Happy Huntin John B.

    John, please contact me off-list...

    Please call me when you get this message. I'm usually up late. 760-522-2152


  22. Hi Eric

    I have read all of these determinations and court cases years ago and as near as I can tell you are spot on. Jim Kreigh and I had a couple of sit downs with the legal minds at the U of A years ago and they were of similar agreement. But then again I ain't an attorney !! I have not recieved a reply from the PLP ( Public Lands for the People) which usually like to fight this kind of stuff. Maybe if we could pool some donations of consiquence we could entice them to take on this fight. Getting it in front of a judge. I'm not a member of the IMCA primarilly because I don't deal in meteorites and never considered selling any and my collection is mostly self found. But I should think many of these members and other interested parties would pony up some bucks for a legal determination. Remember our strength is in numbers. Happy Huntin John B.

    Hi John, Thanks for the reply. I agree 100% that strength is in numbers, and that perhaps there should be some support shown in the area of legislative change. I've been researching this issue for quite a while now. Right now it's little more than a conglomeration of laws and quotes but it's a question about an issue I had a while back that no one seemed able to answer.

    The IMCA is a good organization for meteorite collectors. It's primarily an association which promotes authenticity and trust among collectors and dealers. I believe the IMCA can help meteorite hunters as well, which is why I proposed on the met-list that the IMCA join forces with the MHA. Although the Meteorite Hunting Association's primary purpose is not to lobby the government, the point is to show a unified group of like minded individuals. Right now in my opinion it all disorganized... no offense meant to anyone.

    I would like you to join the MHA as well as every meteorite hunter here on NuggetShooter and ALL meteorite hunters who have an interest in this issue as well as meteorite hunting in general and the education of the public about meteorites.

    Consider this an invitation to join the MHA once we're formed. Yes, it's about strength in numbers. With those numbers we can create a solid and much needed organization! It's not just about lobbying the government against unfair restrictions, but it's about protecting our rights as hunters, educating the public and advancing the science.

    I've spoken with many other meteorite hunters and collectors about this. They feel it's needed and a good idea! Your help as well as the help of other hunters wishing to help is much needed. It takes people working together to get anything done and effect a change.

    We can talk about it, or we can do it. Together!

    So what do you say...?



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