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Tough one to toss.


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A good friend of mine recently found this "rock" in the middle of some sand dunes far from any other rocks. It is a tough one for me to throw out as a meteor wrong. I know photos are tough to judge but I'd like some educated opinions.

The entire stone is about 3 cm in the longest dimension. (Sorry for no scale in the photos.) It is similar in weight/density to a Franconia of similar size. It is cone shaped on one face and more or less flat on the other like an oriented meteorite. It sticks to a rare earth magnet strongly enough to be picked up but not like a piece of steel. It makes a brown (not reddish or gray) streak on a tile. It has no apparent fusion crust. The surface is mostly polished from being sand blasted but shows some small lumps and pits that appear like condrules or holes left by condrules.

He ground a small ridge off with a diamond grinder then gave it a quick polish. The ground surface is about 2mm wide by 12 mm long. Under 30X magnification the ground surface shows several 1mm or less condrule looking inclusions of different colors and within the surrounding matrix there appears to be very fine net like metalic veins. I've attached a couple of photos of the whole stone and a couple of a magnified view of the polished surface. For scale note that the polished surface is about 2mm in width. Sorry about the iPhone photos.

There are some things about this rock that make me think it is not a meteorite. No fusion crust, the pits in the surface, the shinyness, the smooth hard dense feel of it. Other features make me think maybe it is a meteorite. The condrule looking inclusions, the shape, the color, the apparently metallic veins in the matrix, where it was found. Usually I feel pretty confident calling meteor wrong but there are just enough clues to make me think otherwise too. I've seen lots of magnetite but it always seems to be darker and more uniform than this stone. I suppose the inclusions could be round grains of sand in a sandstone/quartzite or something but I've never seen any kind of sandstone/sedimentary rock attracted to a magnet like this.

Photo on left is the -top rounded surface, second one is the back -flatter surface the other two are of different parts of the cut surface.

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Edited by Redbeard
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What does the streak color appear to be?

Jim

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The first one is a baked apple,

The second is a dried prune.

The third and fourth are Jupiter. :4chsmu1:

Keep looking down,

billpeters

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Redbeard,

I looked at this last night when you posted it and wondered also. I read your description where you talked about it being magnetic and everything 'seems' to be in order on doing your tests.

What I am wondering about now was the location of the find. Recently I was in some sand dunes. Within those dunes there was sand and hard pan and some bedrock because the wind had blown away all of the sand. When I saw an object laying on the sand the question of 'how did it get here' comes to mind and if there was anything remotely like it in the area.

You said it was found 'far' from any other rock. Was it buried? Was it found by sight or with a metal detector?

Have you checked to see if there were any recorded falls or finds in the area?

Send your pics to Alan Rubin at UCLA.

Mitchel

Edited by mn90403
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Mitchel,

No recorded falls in the area. Well, there is one but it is an iron.

I wasn't there but he describes it as sitting on the surface of a dune with no hardpan or bedrock visible nearby. He just saw it on the surface. He's not a meteorite hunter but he's a pretty sharp guy. I asked every question I could about its location because it seemed really odd to be sitting on top of dune sand but that's where it was. It wasn't on some 200' tall dune but he said bedrock/harpan were quite a ways down. If it is a meteorite it isn't a fesh one. It has no obvious fresh fusion crust at all. So the question is how does a heavy rock like that, regardless of its origin, end up there? I suppose it could have been buried in the dunes for a very long time and was just recently uncovered.

One of the things that makes me doubt that it is a meteorite is that the surface is so shiny. I've seen that same lustre on terrestrial rocks but it just doesn't seem right for a meteorite. I suppose it could get that way if it has been periodically exposed to sandblasting from the wind, but would a meteorite polish up the same as a terrestrial rock? It does have a bit of dull rougher surface on one side that looks more like a meteorites natural surface.

I'd really be interested to know if there are terrestrial rocks that have similar very rounded inclusions. I'm going to show it to a geologist on Monday to see if she can classify it as a type of terrestrial rock.

I have stared at the surface under magnification for an hour and still can't figure it out. If I were to bet on it I'd say meteorwrong but there is just enough there to make me wonder.

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Fred,

I spent several hours talking to the finder of this rock last night and the last two were just me gushing about how awesome my trip to OZ was and how awesome the people are there. It really made me want to go back but the cost of the trip is way to high now. We hit it just right before. My family of four flew to NZ stayed a week then to OZ for a month. The total airfare including all the fees etc. was about $3200. That would barely buy two tickets now.

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We took it to ASU where Ruben and Lawrence took a quick look and proclaimed it to be a space rock! Lawrence cut off a piece and will classify it soon. He guessed L3-4.

The finders name is Larry. He may soon become a forum member. It is pretty easy to get excited about meteorite hunting when the first rock you pick up is a keeper. I'll say this, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Larry is awesome... and lucky!

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We took it to ASU where Ruben and Lawrence took a quick look and proclaimed it to be a space rock! Lawrence cut off a piece and will classify it soon. He guessed L3-4.

The finders name is Larry. He may soon become a forum member. It is pretty easy to get excited about meteorite hunting when the first rock you pick up is a keeper. I'll say this, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Larry is awesome... and lucky!

Cool, tell Larry congratulations on his first find!!

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Chris

Congratulations to you and Larry on your interest in the 'rock' that didn't seem quite right. Forum members and thread contributors all concur ... GREAT FIND!

Mitchel

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Hi Redbeard!

Nice meeting you last night and enjoyed looking at that stone. Hope Larry takes my advice!

Cheers!

Jim

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Now he's gone and done it. Life as he knows it is now over. Every rock stepped on or over will be scrupulously studied with suspicion and enthusiasm. It's a sickness, I tell you...this meteorite hunting. But there is no better sickness to have.

Congrats to Larry on his superb find!!!

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The saga continues...

Larry, his son Zane and I went back to look for more of his meteorite this weekend. We pulled up and Larry pointed out where he had found is first space rock. Literally 6 feet from where he had parked his truck the day he found it. We had two other friends there for the morning so there were five of us looking for about an hour or two with no luck. The area is very sandy with hardpan blowouts all around so we looked mostly in those open areas. The ground is very light colored so any dark rocks really stand out. We all hung around the trucks for a while talking then after a while our two other friends had to leave. As they drove away I was putting the finishing touches on a bigger magnet on my golf club. We had all been standing around a big metal cage like thing on the ground (maybe an old airfilter from a dozer) where we parked so I put my magnet on it to see if I could pick it up. I dragged the thing about two feet while Larry and Zane were standing next to me. I shook it off my magnet stick and at the same time saw a meteorite RIGHT THERE next to it where we had been standing on and off all morning! No doubt about it. I just put my stick back down and it jumped right on. I can't believe we had been scouring the area for hours and I found a piece right next to our trucks and between our feet.

We got pretty excited that maybe there were more pieces after all so again we searched intensively all around the area for a few more hours but had no luck. What are the odds that there are only two pieces of the meteorite and they were lying 30' apart even though they clearly broke up high enough in the atmosphere that both had fusion crusts all around? There is no way these two just broke apart when they hit the ground. They show no sign of a fresh break. We finally gave up and went off to check a couple of dry lakes nearby.

Our dry lakes were a bust. One was too crusty and salty and the other just barren. Right before Larry and Zane had to head back Sunday I finally had the thought to see if our pieces fit together. Duh. You guessed it. They fit very nicely except the rounded edges and a couple of small missing fragments. Larry's piece weighed just under 33g and mine was 12g.

So seriously, what are the odds that one stone breaks into two so high that they both get melted yet they land 30' apart? Crazy. It is even crazier that Larry randomly parked out there and happened to be sitting on his tailgate and noticed a strange rock. Only later when I mentioned that the area was a good spot to look for meteorites did Larry remember the rock. Then only a couple of days after showing it to me ASU has an open house and we got it ID'ed. I think this stone should be named the Random Coincidence meteorite.

I'll see if I can get some photos posted later.

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Circumstances were in your favor. What are the 'chances' that your meteorites hit that metal object and broke on it as it came down as one piece?

Many on the forum have had the experience of finding one piece and either alone or with others they found more in the area. It turns out to be a logical and proven technique to find meteorites.

Since there is sand in the area you might want to take a metal detector, use the pieces you have already found as samples and then detect the area for more pieces.

Either way it was good karma.

Mitchel

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