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Franconia meteorites or meteowrongs?


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Hi guys,

I've been out to the Franconia area twice now; mainly in the south end. We checked out the north end but met some guys that had spent all morning walking around without finding anything. Also I did not care to leave my car out of visible range (on the other side of RR tracks, etc.) I did not care to walk out into the desert without someone else there I knew as a "backup". So we focused on the south side both trips.

I brought two detectors and also very strong magnets taken from disk drives (I work at WDC).

The first detector it a Tesoro Tejon. First time I've used it, tricky to tune but once "there" it seems to work great there. Found lots of bullets and fragments etc.

The second detector is actually called a locator. It is a surveying locator with two magnetometer sensors. It is oblivious to coins and aluminum lead and unfortunately gold. But hey, meteorites are detected with ease! But so are any ferrous iron "things". Here is where it gets interesting....! I got this thing on Craigslist. The first time out it died!

Looked at the pcb and it had corrosion damage. I fixed at least 5 open traces, replaced the switch, and a bunch of diodes that opened with heat from my soldering iron touchup. 2nd trip it worked great. This thing emits a pitch that goes higher when a magnetic/ferrous object is in range. It has 5 sensitivity ranges and should be awesome in an area where there is no iron around but meteorites.... It has a huge sensitivity area; I can just walk swinging it and sense a target as small as a fingernail easily as I go. It then zeroes right in on the target in realtime.

Here is where my questions begin....

1) I found a bunch of stuff that the locator was sensitive to. Bunch of obvious ROCKS - but not always! Some had a bunch of reflective flakes, some solid black, some heavy, some light, some sand concretions(!), some rhyolite looking things(!), some black things that had pockets of white/clear/colored "something"... Sooo... the question is: is this area known for a high content of iron minerals? Some of the things I found are magnetic themselves - Magnetite?

Much of the stuff I found will snap to the magnet, sound on the metal detector, and sound on the metal locator - but so would magnetite.... What do you guys say?

2) the rhyolite material and sand concretion was found close to the housing developments close to the highway. It was striking to me that this area had this material but farther south along the Trailways road I didn't see it. The locator went crazy over this stuff but the metal detector not always. And nothing snapped to the magnet.

I read on this site that you guys go both north and south but no one discusses along the highway or in the housing area. What's with this? Why isn't the material sort of equally distributed from north to south right across the highway etc.? The areas I found what "may" be meteorites seemed to have this material in small grouped areas with a face to the northeast.

3) another thing is people we met say that much of the area is already gone over. If it truly was I would think the bullets would all be dug up.... So another point - is it a good generalization to search with the understanding that the meteorites will be on the surface rather than underneath? What we found was on the surface but bullets underneath half the time. In any case, no signs of someone else digging this stuff up...

Just got back so later I can add photos and "what detects what" with the material we brought back.

It was fun even if perhaps the stuff could be magnetite.

Barry

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I have found that magnetite has a soft grey semi-metallic sheen. Nothing else that I have found up here in CO looks quite like it. It is fairly heavy, brittle and will break (rock not mineral). Usually has a smooth exterior. Sometimes mixed with olivine and such. HTH

Mike in CO

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I have found that magnetite has a soft grey semi-metallic sheen. Nothing else that I have found up here in CO looks quite like it. It is fairly heavy, brittle and will break (rock not mineral). Usually has a smooth exterior. Sometimes mixed with olivine and such. HTH

Mike in CO

Your description largely fits what I found. It has a sheen to it and smooth surface in many areas. Some flatter/planar surfaces too. Inclusions of something too. A piece of it would attract one of my keys slightly. I'll go through my findings tonite and post some pictures.

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But hey, meteorites are detected with ease!

*Not necessarily, I've seen high end coin machines pass over large Franconia area meteorites without the slightest hint that there was something there.*

*As for using your locator to find meteorites, though I've never used one but I'm willing to bet it's probably not designed to handle mineralized soil.*

Your best bet is to post pictures of what you found because there's enough Franconia hunters here that will let you know if you've found the real deal or not.

Del

***- edit

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I posted photos of detected things here:

http://s291.photobucket.com/albums/ll295/barryklein1

I am obviously not saying all these are meteorites. I do wonder why they are detected and magnetic.

The smaller all-black ones with inclusions of white and red stuff are what I wonder if may be magnetite.

There is also a photo of my fiance with the locator (yellow). She found the first hit.

Note the sandlike concretion thing too. And the rhyolites. Weird.

Barry

*Not necessarily, I've seen high end coin machines pass over large Franconia area meteorites without the slightest hint that there was something there.*

*As for using your locator to find meteorites, though I've never used one but I'm willing to bet it's probably not designed to handle mineralized soil.*

Your best bet is to post pictures of what you found because there's enough Franconia hunters here that will let you know if you've found the real deal or not.

Del

***- edit

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Meteorites dont have air pockets or silica like quarts.

I'm very suprised only one individual so far has told me that basalt and magnetite are found in the area. I have been to two spots on the south end now and found this stuff in both. The rhyolite material I do not believe are meteoric but are interesting in that they have iron content and a strong magnet stick to them (and my detectors zero in on them).

Is this common ? this is the first place I have used both these detectors so I do not know. Also, I've done a lot of rock collecting over the years, many desert locations, but this is the first magnetite or whatever I have ever found. Many of you have mentioned the "mineralized" ground though - so I guess I just found the supreme mineralization, eh?

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Eriks right when he said Meteorites dont have air pockets or silica like quartz. So thats one answer from an experienced Franconia hunter.

The pics are pretty bad and it's always hard to tell from them. However I'm going to take and guess and say most likely you did not find Franconia area meteorites because the texture and shape just doesn't look right. Just to be on the safe side, file a window into them and look for metallic specks.

Another thing, I'm willing to bet your still learning how to use a metal detector. Using a metal detector that has ground balancing features included in it will eliminate what we call "hot rocks" which is most likely what you've picked up there. Like I said before, the "surveying locator" you tried to use may not have the ability to ground balance so it might sound off with many different rocks. I'm not sure how well your Tesoro will work out there, but the next time you head out there try using this instead of your surveying locator and you might find something. However, remember even high end coin hunting metal detectors have trouble picking up chondrites so this isn't a guarantee it will work out there. You've got to realise not all metal detectors will pick up meteorites.

As for the "supreme mineralization" comment- Just wait till you get to the north side.... the south side isn't remotely close to anything I've heard there. :headphones: :laught16: The south sides ground is pretty mellow sounding when compared to the north side.

Have a look at some of the older Franconia posts that have a lot of pictures in them this will show you exactly what they look like out there.

Just my :twocents:

Del

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Hi Barry,

Some of the stones in your photos are obvious basalt, many others have a layered structure or cleavage, and still others show visable quartz. Those would be leaverites. Some of your pictures are not light enough or close enough to tell. (don't worry, none of us are professional photographers!) Do you have a jeweler's loupe to get an up close look at your finds. You may be able to eliminate a bunch before you go to the trouble of windowing the stones. We did not find any meteorites our first several visits and so you just have to hang in there. If we can help with the learning curve maybe your luck will improve.

Best Regards, Ben

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Hi All,

Del wrote besides other things:

"Just to be on the safe side, file a window into them and look for metallic specks."

I always think what a waste of material when you file some of the 'rock' off to see if there are metallic specks or not.

I think it would be better to figure the 20% or the 20 grams of the stone and have it cut off to check for metallic specks.

This way if it is a meteorite, you do not waste any of it and already have a sample to turn in for classification.

That is what I would do.

With best regards,

Moni

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am not sure If any scientist would take the time to classify a stone with coords in the middle of the Franconia strewnfield.

Unless You are one of the big boys like Rob or Ruben or Bill etc and let someone know that you may have something new in the same area. I could be dead wrong since i have never had anything classified before but I would assume that a stone sent in from an area where thousands of stones have been found and a lot have already been classified would be put on the back burner at best. My suggestion is in agreement with Del, put a little window in it to see if it is one. There are lots of Franconia chondrites left to be found and Im sure you will find more that you wont have to window. Just my :twocents:

Paul

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actually we need more stones paired to the franconia fall. only one has been classified. Plus your meteorite could pair to any of the strewn fields in the franconia area: Buck mountain Wash( 001, 002, 003), Sacramento Wash( 001, 002, 003, 004, 005), Palo Verde Mine, Warm Springs Wilderness. I've also seen stones that clearly don't fit in with any of the classifications for example Jim showed me an odd stone, Mikes best looking franconia.

[Erik]

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actually we need more stones paired to the franconia fall. only one has been classified. Plus your meteorite could pair to any of the strewn fields in the franconia area: Buck mountain Wash( 001, 002, 003), Sacramento Wash( 001, 002, 003, 004, 005), Palo Verde Mine, Warm Springs Wilderness. I've also seen stones that clearly don't fit in with any of the classifications for example Jim showed me an odd stone, Mikes best looking franconia.

[Erik]

Hi all,

I've spent a little time going through what I brought home, segregating the material by streak on a ceramic tile as well as by the material's attraction to a magnet. Of the strongly "magnet attracted" I categorized the stuff into 3 piles - no streak, reddish brown streak, and greenish brown streak. Some of this can be definitely counted out because of planar surfaces. I thought I read that reddish brown streaking material is hematite. Here is the thing: like I said in another email, I had gathered material a few miles from Canyon Diablo years ago that I had thought meteoric - heavy, highly attracted to a magnet. But it too has the same reddish brown streak. I took one of these and ground down some of it. I see some disbursed swirling slivers of metal within it. Does hematite have these? Anyone in the Orange County area I could just show this stuff to? One thing is that the Franconia samples have rounded surfaces and have small circular pockets but the CD samples have sharp edges like they were broken apart from each other.

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