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Old Woman Meteorite


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Hi Guys:

I'm sure all of you have heard the story of the Old Woman Meteorite which was found in the 70's and confiscated by the Smithsonian Institute.

The main mass was over 6000 pounds yet I've never heard of any other small pieces from the Old Woman being found. I'd like to think the prospectors who originally found the main mass also searched the surrounding area for other pieces. Perhaps not a large strewnfield but you would think other pieces were thrown off on impact. Yet to the best of my knowledge- none were ever found. Isn't that odd?

Steve

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Steve, I tried to get into that area some years back, at that time the closest road was pretty bad and I did not have 4x4, it is something someone needs to check out! Maybe me and You??

Max

Hi Guys:

I'm sure all of you have heard the story of the Old Woman Meteorite which was found in the 70's and confiscated by the Smithsonian Institute.

The main mass was over 6000 pounds yet I've never heard of any other small pieces from the Old Woman being found. I'd like to think the prospectors who originally found the main mass also searched the surrounding area for other pieces. Perhaps not a large strewnfiled but you would think other pieces were thrown off on impact. Yet to the best of my knowledge- none were ever found. Isn't that odd?

Steve

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Steve & Max,

First, getting into the area is ""Off Limits"" by the Feds. The OWM's are in the Desert Protection Zone.

Secondly, I talked with Jack Harwood, one of the co-founders, about a month ago and he still does not want to discuss the issue at. all.

Ol'29er

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Gentlemen,

I don't believe the Old Woman Mountains Wilderness Area is off limits. It is a Wilderness area designated in Oct. 1994, under the California Desert Protection act and is off limits to vehicles travel within its boundaries. Like most all Wilderness areas it is open to limited use. Check with the local BLM office for allowed uses and access routes. :icon_mrgreen:

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Steve & Max,

First, getting into the area is ""Off Limits"" by the Feds. The OWM's are in the Desert Protection Zone.

Secondly, I talked with Jack Harwood, one of the co-founders, about a month ago and he still does not want to discuss the issue at. all.

Ol'29er

Bob - I can certainly understand why Jack is still bitter. He got screwed over royally over the Old Woman meteorite incident.

It's about 35 years since it was found. I'm sure at least a couple decades passed before it was included in the Desert Protection Zone. Surely you would think other people would be looking for other pieces of it since the main mass was discovered. Yet- to the best of my knowledge-nothing else was ever found. I just find it a little strange that you have a single 6000 meteorite with no other pieces that were found near it. No smaller specimens from an impact or anything. Is it possible that fall was so old that the smaller pieces rusted away into oblivion and left nothing but the main mass? There's got to be a reason....

Steve

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Steve, it has been a very long time since I seen the pictures of the OWM in place...I think they were in Niningers Book...anyway there didn't appear to be any indication that the Meteorite impacted where it was found. Just my uneducated guess that the fall was very, very old and the OWM stayed while the mountain eroded away around it. Also, there is no reason to assume that an iron had any company when it came to visit earth...unlike stoney meteorites they donot fall apart quite so easily...like people some are made of stronger stuff.

Fred

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Also, there is no reason to assume that an iron had any company when it came to visit earth...unlike stoney meteorites they donot fall apart quite so easily...like people some are made of stronger stuff.

Fred

Fred- That may be true but I find it difficult to believe a 6000lbs + chunk of metal slammed into the top of a mountain without shedding any pieces upon impact. You brought up another very good point and that is - age. I guess it's possible whatever smaller pieces could have simply rusted away over a period of time. The Meteor Crater is supposed to be 50,000 yrs old (although I've seen many other figures) and there were still large meteorites left after all that time. Just wonder if they could ever date the fall just from the composition like they did with some stonies.

Steve

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I agree, if the mountain was there when the meteorite hit there could/should be pieces or shatter cones perhaps...but we would need the terrestrial age of the meteorite and gelogic era to determine that...also, a small iron may not fracture into pieces like a huge one will...that has to do with physics and math and other stuff that requires a brain to figure out...if I only had a brain...but, these things are explained in a couple of books that are readily available...

Fred

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, a small iron may not fracture into pieces like a huge one will...that has to do with physics and math and other stuff that requires a brain to figure out...if I only had a brain...but, these things are explained in a couple of books that are readily available...

Fred

Nothing wrong with your brain. Some of that physics is beyond the understanding of us mere mortal men. :Huh_anim]: :spinnin:

Steve

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Steve,

Sometime ago I read where several small pieces of Iron Shale were found in the general area that the Old Woman Meteorite was found. I do not know if the story was true or not. Iron shale is a result of complete alteration of iron meteorites to iron oxides by weathering. I have tried to re-locate that story without any results, I remember coming across it while reading some information on chalcedony roses.

Jim

For those that do not know about the Old Woman Meteorite....

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/barstow/meteorite.html

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Jim:

I just knew their had to be some pieces out there yet, even if it was Iron Shale. The only question is - did someone ever search the rest of the area and find anything? If not- that might be a good area to check. In spite of the Iron Shale being found- it could still offer possibilities of finding much larger pieces that haven't weathered as much. That area looks to me like it's pretty rugged so I'm sure there's a lot of territory that hasn't been explored yet. Don't know about the rules and regulations though. You would most likely have to hike in or use horses.

Steve

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Steve,

I received an E-Mail from Robert Verish, an individual that has spent a little time looking into the possibility that there might be more pieces of the Old Woman Meteorite. He has given me permission to post his thoughts on this thread. Here is a link to his Web site and also his E-mail to me.

http://members.tripod.com/~bolidechaser/

"Quote"

Good evening Jim,

About 4 or 5 years ago I met someone at the Tucson Show that showed me what he thought was a meteorite. I told him that it was iron shale that came from a weathered iron. It was only then that he told me that he found it near the Old Woman Mountains. He showed me on a map where he made his find. It was nowhere near where the Old Woman Meteorite was found, and for that matter it wasn't really in that mountain range.

For some reason he was very intent upon getting me to join him in a search for more of this iron-shale. I told him that I never heard of a locality where there was only one piece of iron shale; if there was one piece there would usually be many more pieces that could be found. I told him that he had already done the hard part of the job - and now the iron mass that the shale came from could not be very far away. I told him that if he could find more iron-shale but not find any mass of iron, I would then help him.

Well, that never happened. He never went back to that locality and he never bothered to look for more iron-shale.

The truth of the matter is that there has never been any Old Woman iron-shale found. At the very spot where the iron was found there wasn't any found! In fact, the surface of the iron has a hard patina which you can see for yourself at Barstow. Yes, a magnetite-type of oxide, but no rusty shale. Also, an absense of scratch marks! ???

The Old Woman Meteorite mystery represents a meteoritic enigma wrapped in a geologic conundrum.

I was invited to join a group of geologists and meteoriticists that were wanting to write a paper to explain this mystery, but we never could come up with a good explanation.

We'll have to leave this mystery to a smarter, more wiser generation to come up with an explanation.

Regards,

Bob V.

"Unquote"

It is possible that what information I came across, was the same information that confronted Bob. I have no idea and as rugged as those mountains are, it is beyond the limits of my stamina to even think about looking for a piece of something that may not exist..... :Huh_anim]:

Jim

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Thanks Jim-

That's a very interesting email and it does answer most of my questions. But if the iron shale didn't come from the Old Woman meteorite, where did it come from and was it ever anaylized to see if it had a extraterrestrial origin? Of course I don't expect you or Robert to know the answers to either of those questions. Just makes me wonder. :hmmmmmm: :hmmmmmm:

At least it does leave open the possibility of finding some Old Women meteorites and not iron shale. But just like Bob stated - that will have to be someone elses expedition. Just wonder what the price of an Old Woman meteorite would sell for should someone ever find any. :hmmmmmm:

Steve

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Granite Vs. Meteorite?

It does not suprise me that the

meteorite was unscratched. Imagine

watching it hit then roll down hill haha.

Big, big, big, heavy boulder of iron.

Everytime I'm at the base of a hill

around the collection piles of boulders

I alway think of the OWM.

[Erik]

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Hi All

The pictures I've seen in the past showed the piece in what looked like decomposed granite. I have made at least 10 hunts into the area with no luck. Have found lots of exploded shrapnel and unexploded tank and other artillery rounds in some areas. :WOW: Lots of noise :headphones:

Wayne :icon_mrgreen:

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Another thought on that subject is the fact that a peice that big would be supernaturally hot and might very well have melted the granite or at least softened it.

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Another thought on that subject is the fact that a peice that big would be supernaturally hot and might very well have melted the granite or at least softened it.

jagdoctor1,

Not likely............. Meteorites are sometimes reported to be warm to the touch when they land, but they are never hot. Reports, however, vary greatly, with some meteorites being reported as "burning hot to the touch" upon landing, and others forming a frost upon their surface.

Check out this link for some information provided by a very knowledgeable gentleman from Tucson, Ariz.

Read the section titled .....Common questions and a few misconceptions....

"A meteorite hit my grandfather's barn and burned it down"

http://www.aerolite.org/found-a-meteorite.htm

Jim

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Paleface;

do you know what the terrestrial age of the OWM is? I am not a geologist and so could be misunderstanding some geology reports, but, it appears the Old Woman MT.s uplifted about 60-80 millon years ago. Assuming there is iron-shale from the OWM wouldn't that indicate it was buried for some time, then likely lifted with the mountains and the iron shale fell away due to freezing, thawing and wind erosion?

These things may be in the first link you gave but I can't ever get to or find anything on that site...'cause-I just ain't very smart like you.

Fred

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Paleface;

do you know what the terrestrial age of the OWM is? I am not a geologist and so could be misunderstanding some geology reports, but, it appears the Old Woman MT.s uplifted about 60-80 millon years ago. Assuming there is iron-shale from the OWM wouldn't that indicate it was buried for some time, then likely lifted with the mountains and the iron shale fell away due to freezing, thawing and wind erosion?

These things may be in the first link you gave but I can't ever get to or find anything on that site...'cause-I just ain't very smart like you.

Fred

Fred,

If this is the link that you are referring to, http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/barstow/meteorite.html There is no information as to the terrestrial age of the Old Woman Meteorite on that site. I am assuming that the BLM story on the meteorite does not pull up for you. When I click the link, I get a BLM page with a picture of the OWM and a story.

Try this link, it is The Meteoritical Bulletin Database classification on the OWM. I have no idea if it was ever tested to determine the terrestrial age.

http://tin.er.usgs.gov/meteor/metbull.php?...&code=18007

As has been stated, no actual pieces of Iron shale that can be connected to the OWM are known to exist. Robert Verish stated that "Quote" The truth of the matter is that there has never been any Old Woman iron-shale found. At the very spot where the iron was found there wasn't any found! In fact, the surface of the iron has a hard patina which you can see for yourself at Barstow. Yes, a magnetite-type of oxide, but no rusty shale. Also, an absence of scratch marks! ??? "Unquote"

I have to agree with the fact that the meteorite is quite pristine, it does not look to have lost any surface area to rusting. You do bring up a good point, however my limited smartness does not permit me to go there with my rockhound geology limitations. This web site has good information on the terrestrial age of meteorites, it does state that meteorites can survive for at least 50,000 years in a desert environment. R. Verish is mentioned several times in the article, I think that he probably could shed more light on these type questions.

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/books/MESSII/9011.pdf

I ain't, isn't smart, just act that way at times. I thank you for your many good comments and want you to know that I have learned many things from your informative posts. You are always contributing top notch information where ever you post, this forum is full of individuals that give useful information on a daily basis, this is what it takes to turn the wheels on this well oiled machine.

Jim

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