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Hi Guys-

I'm sure everyone here has read about the Pasamonte meteorite fall that happened back in 1933 in New Mexico. They estimate the original mass weighed anywhere from 1000 to 1,000,000 tons. It was probably the brightest meteorite ever witnessed yet only 5-10 pounds of it were ever recovered. Surely there has to be more laying around. Does anyone know about the land ownership status in that area? Is that area really rugged to the point it would keep meteorite hunters from looking for more pieces? How about the composition of the meteorite itself. Would a eucrite last long in the field since they say it's a fragile meteorite? I see where everyone hunts for Glorieta pallisite in NM but no one seems to hunt the Pasamonte eucrite which would be worth a fortune if some were to be recovered.

http://www.meteoriteman.com/collection/pasamonte.htm

http://tin.er.usgs.gov/meteor/metbull.php?code=18110

Steve

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Hi Steve,

I had the chance to hunt the Pasamonte strewn field a couple of years ago with a few good friends including Rob Reisener and Steve Schoner. The strewn field is made up mostly of flat range land with low vegetation. On the South and East sides of the strewn field are large canyons that resemble a small version of the Grand Canyon that go on for miles. The canyons are full of wildlife including black bears. I know what you are thinking, Black Bears in the middle of grass lands. The day prior to our arrival the ranch owner had a large black bear in the front yard looking for food. I told Steve and Rob I would have bet you a million dollars that the only bears in this area lived in a zoo in the next city.

One of my favorite parts of our meteorite hunting trips is that you have a chance to sit down and talk to the property owner and hear the story of the meteorite fall and the early meteorite hunters . Nininger was one of the first meteorite hunters to arrive at the ranch to purchase and hunt for more pieces. Approximately one hundred fragments were recovered. We talked for hours on the back porch overlooking the strewn field. After getting permission to hunt the strewn we were given a guided tour of the ranch and had a chance to look around the old ranch house where many of the Pasamonte pieces were purchased by Nininger. The property surrounding the old house was full of old cars and everything they accumulated over the years. The only advice we were given was to watch out for rattlesnakes. In our previous conversation with the ranch owner he talked about being bitten on the back by a rattle snake while eating lunch out herding cattle. "I damned near died from the snake bite he said!" They had to build a two foot fence around the main ranch house just to keep the rattlesnakes out of the yard. Three prairie rattlesnakes were killed by the ranch hands in front of the main house a few days before. The old house was built over a basement with a concrete stairway leading under the house. The upper floor of the house was missing a door or two and full of everything! Still the chance to find a Pasamonte meteorite was "worth the stay in a hospital from a snake bite" I told Rob as I tried to get him to go first down the stairway. After a few seconds of discussing this Rob, Steve and myself decided the chance of finding a meteorite in the basement or upper floor were not good. The three of us looked around the property with no luck. We did find a Hognose snake along the fence.

In all reality the chance of finding a eucrite after all these years would not be good. The condition of the strewn field during the time of the fall was little or no vegetation due to the drought that they were experiencing in 1933. Many of the fragments were easily spotted by the sheep herders and ranch hands due to the rich dark black fusion crust of a eucrite. 75 years of farming and ranching would make it almost impossible for a Pasamonte eucrite to survive for that many years. If you were able to come across a fragment it would have traces of a dull black fusion crust with a dirty white to gray interior and crumble with little or no effort .

The following morning we hunted the rolling hills wandering through the strewn field that was now patches of tall grass with some open areas of vegetation. Cattle and antelope also wandered the strewn field for as far as you could see. For most of the day a young antelope followed behind me 100' or so only stopping as I did to wait while I look at suspected meteorites. After numerous hours of hunting I could see Rob off in the distance walking towards my location. When we finally met up we were a half mile or so off the edge from were the flat land dropped into the steep ravines. Rob and I both talked about the condition of the strewn field and the chances of finding any meteorites at all. As we were talking I noticed off in the distance what looked like a small herd of antelope running from the edge of the canyon. It was still hard to make out what they were but they were running towards us. The little antelope that had been falling me all day was still about 200' away looking in our direction. As the antelope got a little closer we both could see why they were running. A large dark colored object was chasing after the antelope . By now Rob and I both stopped talking and put our full attention on what was chasing the antelope. It was a bear on a full run. I turned and looked in the direction of the car that was parked by an old windmill I could see nothing but rolling hills in all directions. By this time the little antelope that was my new buddy was a dust trail on the horizon. Rob and I had no other option but to out run each other in hopes that the bear would get the weaker one! As we started to turn and run for our lives the antelope must have spotted us and turned the other direction and went over the hill out of sight. Rob and I decided that we had enough of Pasamonte and should try to find Schoner before the snakes or bears get him! If I was to plan a return trip to Pasamonte I would try to go in the winter months, the grass would be lower and less chance of running into a snake and hopefully it would be hunting season!

Sonny

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Pretty cool story Sonny, adventures like that are what keeps all of us addicted to this hobby. No meteorites were found but you now have memories that will last you for the rest of your life.

Hey it was nice to run into you at Tucson. Maybe sooner or later I'll run into you again.

Del

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Pretty cool story Sonny, adventures like that are what keeps all of us addicted to this hobby. No meteorites were found but you now have memories that will last you for the rest of your life.

Hey it was nice to run into you at Tucson. Maybe sooner or later I'll run into you again.

Del

Hi Del,

It was nice to meet you also. I had a chance to meet a couple more of the guys on the nugget shooters list in Tucson this weekend.

Sonny

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Sonny-

Thanks for the story as it was very interesting. I had always thought Robert Haags " it's a tough place to search" comment meant the strewnfield was over some rugged mountain range but that's not the case at all. It's actually flat and grassy which was very surprising to me. You could very well be right when you say the chances of recovering more Pasamontes are slim. Given the size of the original mass- that strewnfield might be bigger then originally thought. I'd like to think there's some relatively grass free areas, whether it's a few miles away on the side of a mountain or some other flat area where there's very little vegetation, where you might be able to recover a few more. If I was a really serious meteorite hunter - I would probably spend a good couple weeks searching that area some more. You never know.... By the way-how much do figure Pasamonte eucrites would be worth these days? I don't recall ever seeing any for sale.

Steve

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Sonny-

Thanks for the story as it was very interesting. I had always thought Robert Haags " it's a tough place to search" comment meant the strewnfield was over some rugged mountain range but that's not the case at all. It's actually flat and grassy which was very surprising to me. You could very well be right when you say the chances of recovering more Pasamontes are slim. Given the size of the original mass- that strewnfield might be bigger then originally thought. I'd like to think there's some relatively grass free areas, whether it's a few miles away on the side of a mountain or some other flat area where there's very little vegetation, where you might be able to recover a few more. If I was a really serious meteorite hunter - I would probably spend a good couple weeks searching that area some more. You never know.... By the way-how much do figure Pasamonte eucrites would be worth these days? I don't recall ever seeing any for sale.

Steve

Hi Steve,

>By the way-how much do figure Pasamonte eucrites would be worth these days? I don't recall ever seeing any for sale.

I have never seen any for sale! While I was in Tucson I had a chance to hold a couple of the Pasamonte meteorites that were recovered a couple years after the fall. One of the jars holding the meteorite was nothing but crumbs and dust . Someone had dropped this meteorite and it turned to dust. I still think it is worth looking for, our only hopes of recovering more pieces is to send Ben and Eric to the area and look for more.

Sonny

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Sonny, Thanks for the great story! And I'm sure that if Ben and Erik went after them, they would find kilo's! :icon_mrgreen:

Jim

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Ben and Erik could probably easily tromp through that grass with no problems as tall as they are, it would probably only come up to their knees! :laught16:

Tucson show was way cool, wish I had more time to see all the other places. I definately learned a lot from the little bit of time I was there thanks to Ruben and guys like you. I'm amazed at the scale of that show (my first time attending). Kind of an eye opener for me because I had no clue the Gem and Mineral industry was that big!

Again it was nice meeting you Sonny, maybe someday I'll see you out in the field. Until then, good luck with all your hunts and the hard work and effort you put into finding meteorites.

del

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Sonny,

nice story for sure, I can not believe you guys did not find any with all that experience. Pasamonte is a nice Eucrite for sure. might still be some pieces to be found with the right persistence. Ben and Erik would be the fellas to do it.

Hmmmm.........lets see, how far is this strewn field from my house? you never know.

Steve, thanks for the info on Pasamonte. I have read about most of the falls in New Mexico and had forgotten about this one.

Dean

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Hi all,

I've hunted with Sonny and Rob in three or four Strewn Fields and I can tell you that Sonny is a riot in the field. We have a few really good/ funny stories that will probably never be told. Most of you don't know Rob, but he is a very good meteorite hunter and the fact that they (along with Steve Shoner) didn't find anything means there probably isn't much to find....

In Tucson I felt bad for Del and Mike as it took all day to hit just a few dealers rooms.... Every room we walking into was a 45 minute conversation with meteorite enthusiasts. It was fun but we needed more than just a day to get it all in!

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Which one is the Campo? ..........................Just kidding. So Del, now you know how huge the Tucson Show is - it's massive! Jim, Del, and Sonny, it would be really cool to hunt for Pasamonte, a real challenge. Even if nothing turned up, it would be high adventure. I'm jealous of anyone who's been there. I think the key is having a nose for eucrites. The basaltic iron-rich pyroxenes and low-salt pasioclase smells much different than Holbrooks for example, unless there's lots of ragweed pollen in the wind.............of course, the scent of weathered Gold Basin....................................................

Ben

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Tucson show was way cool, wish I had more time to see all the other places. I definately learned a lot from the little bit of time I was there thanks to Ruben and guys like you. I'm amazed at the scale of that show (my first time attending). Kind of an eye opener for me because I had no clue the Gem and Mineral industry was that big!

del

If you've never been to Quartzsite for the rock shows in Jan-Feb- that's a must do also. Perhaps not as fancy as Tucson but still very interesting and amazing. :twocents:

Steve

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Ruben- Hey thanks for taking Mike and I around the show. No big deal about the Bs'ing part as this is all part of the experience. Learned a lot and met a lot of people. Thanks!

Ben and Erik- Yeah we barely scratched the surface of Tucson. You could probably spend a month there and not see everything. The thing that really blows me away- outside of chondrites, irons, and stony irons how the hell do hunters identify all of the above (achondrites and such)? :confused0013: I have to admit unless something has very obvious fusion crust on the outside I just wouldn't know. Mike and I kept looking at each other saying "yeah... I'd throw that back in a heartbeat".

Steve- Mike and I drove through Quartzite and I have to admit I was drooling when we passed "Gold Nugget Road" a little passed there. Someday I think I'll head out there to find some gold.

Del

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Which one is the Campo? ..........................Just kidding. So Del, now you know how huge the Tucson Show is - it's massive! Jim, Del, and Sonny, it would be really cool to hunt for Pasamonte, a real challenge. Even if nothing turned up, it would be high adventure. I'm jealous of anyone who's been there. I think the key is having a nose for eucrites. The basaltic iron-rich pyroxenes and low-salt pasioclase smells much different than Holbrooks for example, unless there's lots of ragweed pollen in the wind.............of course, the scent of weathered Gold Basin....................................................

Ben

Ben, now you got me think'in. Which could be dangerous and require medical assistance. What if you could put a blood hound onto the scent of the meteorite that your hunt'in? Then all you do is watch the dog and drink moonshine! :laught16::laught16:

Jim

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Hi Del,

I totally agree about identifying a lot of the really exotic, rare, or incredibly expensive meteorites that one gets to see at the show. Like you said, unless there is fresh fusion crust, a lot of those meteorites definately look like "throwin' rocks" to me. Most of them would NOT HAVE ever been looked at except that they were THE ONLY stones on a sea of white sand in some third-world country. Would they have been looked at if they were in the stony boondocks of the American West? Let's see, what are the odds of winning the lottery..............................

Ben

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Hmmmm.........lets see, how far is this strewn field from my house? you never know.

Steve, thanks for the info on Pasamonte. I have read about most of the falls in New Mexico and had forgotten about this one.

Dean

Dean- Given the size of the mass, whether it was 1000 tons or 1,000,000 tons- it was quite a large fall regardless. I don't know how large that ranch was where Sonny hunted but it seems entirely possible that the strewnfield was much larger and went beyond those property lines.. Seems like the only people who hunted it at the time were from that one ranch. I still say there's a good chance of more being found elsewhere -whether on the side of a mountain or some other area where there's very little vegetation. :twocents: :twocents:

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dean-

I've seen pictures of the White Sands in NM and that looks like an ideal spot to hunt for meteorites. Is there anyplace where you can hunt at least part of that area? Someone should do really well there.

Steve

Steve, thanks for the info on Pasamonte. I have read about most of the falls in New Mexico and had forgotten about this one.

Dean

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