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Cold Finds, how to?


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I've been hunting meteorites a few years now and have a couple hundred finds, all of them from known strewn fields and dry lake beds. Last year I made 3 trips in search of cold finds in the deserts near Las Vegas, one using a metal detector and the other 2 using a magnet stick. Most of the dry lake beds in the south west are known to have had meteorite finds, some having hundreds from the same lake bed. Arizona has at least 4 strewn fields that I know of. The point being that there must remain a LOT of meteorites out there waiting to be discovered. So I am wondering if folks out there who have found cold finds would be willing to share how they found them? Also, I would be interested in hearing about how other folks go about searching for cold finds, even if they have no finds.

I know from my limited cold find searching experience that it must take a lot of perseverance. The odds of finding one seem slim when you are swinging a detector for hours on end with nothing found. And yet the odds are probably good that there are several meteorites within a mile of anywhere you happen to be, waiting to be discovered! A magnet stick or cane is more fun and more ground can be covered but seems limited to areas with fewer rocks. Many of the desert areas out here consist of desert pavement, more or less saturated on the surface with small pebble sized rocks in many colors. It seems like using a metal detector would be best in these areas. Has anyone out there actually discovered a cold find using a detector? I know there have been quite a few cold finds made in recent years but I don't recall any details of how they were actually found. Thanks in advance for any tips. I hope to get back out there and try again and anything shared will provide additional motivation!....jim

Edited by Paleomanjim
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Jim, MY one and only cold-find was made while hunting gold in Australia...it was completely unexpected as I thought it was a hot rock. Australia does not have hot-rocks like the western US...so, I was really surprised when I realized what it was. As I said elsewhere, I have been looking but not finding cold-meteorites since 1980, while metal detecting...it is not real common. Yet, Bill and ( I think) Uncle Ron have both made cold-finds...Beeper Bob found one, Rob ( the great chef) found one, Driller Dave found one...maybe it is more common than I think.....

fred

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The more ground you can cover, the better your chances. From those I've spoken with (who are much, much more successful cold hunters than I am with only 1 cold find) they agree that it takes about 200-400 field hours to make one cold find.

I've used my detector a few times on cold hunts, but it's so limiting and slows you down so much I find that I'm better served in picking a cold hunt location that does not require the use of a detector, either due to lack of rocks or uniform light coloration of the desert pavement. I love swinging a detector in a known strewn field when I know that any signal might just be a meteorite, but when I'm cold hunting with one I get impatient with digging hot rocks and trash and feel like I'm wasting my time. In a known strewn field every hit is like scratching a lottery ticket to me, anticipation builds and you just might get lucky. But when I'm cold hunting every hit just seems to slow me down from searching and I don't feel productive.

I think the real skill (luck) in cold hunting comes not from the hunt itself, but from choosing the location. Finding locations that have old, old surfaces that do not change much over the millenia seems to be key. Once you have a few areas selected it's just a matter of putting in the time and hoping you manage to walk over one.

Edited by Mikestang
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I find them all the time! I stop what I am doing and head for the frig. Opening the door, my eyes are trained to look for the glassy brown look. I am pretty good....I must be....because I do not even need the sun to find them.
As soon as I spot one, I know what it is. I grab it, pop the top and swig. darn good when they are cold! :25r30wi:

Jim

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Hi Guys,

I happen to like Jim's type of cold-find best. On the serious side, I can tell you from making my own cold-find, that if you persevere, use your noggin, and wear-out

a few pairs of boots, you'll succeed. Where to hunt? It's really very simple. You can eliminate a huge chunk of the entire southwest United States. There are no meteorites on State Land, State parks, State Monuments, National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, Military Reservations and ranges, Environmental Impact Study Areas, Wildlife Preserves, and Indian Reservations. There are other areas, but those are the biggies. Don't waste your time, Hunt where there are meteorites and just keep at it. I would not waste time with a metal detector, unless you already know there are meteorites in your search area. You'll make much better time, and cover more turf by eye. And DON'T hunt with a detector on mining claims without the knowledge and permission of the claim-owner, or you'll get ventilated unnecessarily.

Good Hunting, Ben

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I would suggest a metal detector if you are searching for a cold find.
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/index.php?sea=Griffith+Wash&sfor=names&ants=&falls=&valids=&stype=contains&lrec=50&map=ge&browse=&country=All&srt=name&categ=All&mblist=All&rect=&phot=&snew=0&pnt=Normal table&code=55289
The reason for this is you will most assuredly walk right over one and never know it was at your feet.
Mine was discovered while searching(detecting) a fringe area for gold nuggets.
You see the ground you are looking at while walking weather you are holding a metal detector or not,........
BUT you can't see whats beneath the dirt you are walking over UNLESS you are swinging a detector.
I have hunted and collected many pounds of meteorites and I would say that dam near all were located with a detector.
The detector is just that a "detector" of what your eyes cannot see wether on the surface and containing a reactive content for the detector to respond to or under the surface or an obstruction , it doesn't lie it tells you theres something there even if you can't see it.
On the other hand a walking stick with a good quality magnet is "just that".

post-562-0-23047400-1396279387_thumb.jpg

Edited by frank c
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Hi Frank!

That is such a pretty meteorite! I have yet to see a find in AZ look as good as that one did! Just beautimus!

Many...maybe most....cold finds are stumbled upon by people hunting for other things....like gold.

In any case, Kudos and respect to those that finish the process and have their finds classified and published in a timely manor.

Jim

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Good point, Frank! The difference when strictly hunting meteorites would be trying for ground coverage, like patch hunting, rather than a very complete search of a small area...like working a known nugget patch.

I find many interesting things while detecting...double your fun!

fred

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Fred,

You gave me this same excellent advice a few years ago, and since then I've made several finds, which I had not been doing previously.

Thanks very much for that. Hope we can hunt together again soon.

Karl

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I would suggest a metal detector if you are searching for a cold find.

If you're already looking for something with a detector and you find a meteorite, that's not quite the same thing as going out cold hunting specifically for a meteorite. If you're just picking random spots in the desert to specifically cold hunt meteorites your time will be much more productive without a detector because you can cover way more ground. I would hazard a guess that the many pounds of meteorites you've collected have most or all been from known strewn fields where using a detector is productive.

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Mike , Yer ALWAYS cold hunting, wether for gold , meteorites, relics, coins, jewelry, etc. etc. etc.
Would you rather be hunting with your eyes and a magnet only ????
Or have the advantage of the metal detector for ALL tasks ????
As for me I need the advantage of the metal detector at my side. At my age the ol eyes don't do what they used to.
And even if they did I still can't see thru the dirt an rocks.
So I say to all in my humble way Use a detector whenever possible if yer tryin to locate anything with even a slight metal content to it.
An Hapy Huntn

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Frank,

My 'sun baker' nugget found at the Franconia outing was first 'seen' with my metal detector. As soon as I got the signal and looked down it was obvious to me but I would have missed it without swinging.

I've come to using a term in the desert called 'beach detecting' which means I go fast ... too fast for most gold hunters.

I think the 'order' of cold finds would be beach, gold and then meteorites. You can find 'new finds' and new beaches. You can find new gold but not everywhere (don't look for gold on a dry lake). You can find meteorites where you can't find anything else so that means they can be anywhere and any size.

I'm like you and a fan of letting technology do most of my spotting.

Mitchel

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Mike , Yer ALWAYS cold hunting, wether for gold , meteorites, relics, coins, jewelry, etc. etc. etc.

Would you rather be hunting with your eyes and a magnet only ????

Or have the advantage of the metal detector for ALL tasks ????

It's not cold hunting in a known strewn field.

Yes. :)

There are disadvantages, too; sometimes they outweigh the advantages.

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Thanks everyone, the different points of view are good things to consider. I think it more or less boils down to ground conditions, using magnet canes for barren ground and metal detectors on areas with desert pavement. Another thing that has me wondering though is what type of ground is conducive to preserving meteorites on or near the surface? Some dry lake beds are because they are subject to freeze thaw mechanical action or wind erosion, but a few seem to have more deposition than erosion and are devoid of surface rocks. Gold Basin and Franconia strewn fields provide good examples of what happens to meteorites when they land on desert pavements. Many and probably most of the chondrites I have found at Franconia were on desert pavement in plain view! But of course most of them I did not spot with my eyes until the detector sounded off. Even then it is hard to spot most of them because they can blend in to the surface rocks. I have found around a dozen or so chondrites at Franconia using my eyes even though I was swinging the detector, but most of those were laying on bare patches of ground so they stood out. More commonly most of the meteorites I found on the bare patches at Franconia were buried a couple inches below the surface. The point being that meteorites landing on desert pavement probably have a good chance of staying on the surface. They are just hard to see. So when I head out into the desert I get the feeling that there are probably more exposed surface meteorites on areas of desert pavement than similar areas of more barren ground. I know when I am walking on areas of desert pavement that most of the rocks have been laying there exposed for tens of thousands of years, but not so much in barren areas. So I am leaning on going back to using my detector on the next couple trips and hunting patches of desert pavement. I have a PI machine now so I'll probably use that since it runs whisper quiet, even though it lacks the sensitivity of the GB2.....another trade off. ....jim

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Jim, depending on which Pi you have...I found several tiny irons at franconia and the smallest Gold basin I found was less than a gram...I will say that generally, a Pi is extremely sensitve to Iron and nickel/iron...try the dd coil in psuedo-mono for even more sensivity...assuming you have a Minelab that can...can't do it with a 2200...

fred

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Thanks Fred. I have the Garrett ATX and have found both chondrites and irons with it. On the very small Franconia irons it will detect almost as small as a Gold bug 2, but the GB2 does have a slight edge. On a recent trip using the ATX I lost the signal trying to locate a tiny iron. Apparently as I dug for it I buried it a bit deeper. My friend using his GB2 came over and located it quite easily for me. That sort of proved to me that the GB2 was the better choice for the tiny irons. Also, the GB2 seems more sensitive on the chondrites from some testing I did. On the other hand, for deep stuff and hot conditions like wet sand at the beach, the ATX wins hands down. I don't know about the Minelab, but most folks agree it has a very slight edge on the ATX for larger deep stuff and the ATX may excel on the really small stuff like tiny nuggets. Changing coils can make a difference of course. ....Guess I'm off topic now, but I just picked up the underwater headphones, mask, snorkel, wet suit, hood and weight belt and will be hitting the surf in a couple weeks. I think that is where the big heavy ATX will really excel. Just gotta practice the quick release on the weight belt so that I don't become the thing being searched for!

Edited by Paleomanjim
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Okay, you guys got completely away from hunting for cold finds, and in so many words, told me you only hunt known strewnfields/playas, their edges or peripheral areas, and described to me how you do it. Cold finds will not be found there. And it doesn't mean finding an L5 on the edge of an L4 field - there WILL be normal variation because, unless you're dealing with a huge iron, any meteorite BIG ENOUGH to leave a strewn field, was a multi-ton puppy before it detonated (sometimes several times) at altitude. What was the composition of that original body? So I know we all like making finds, cause we get pumped up, but if you are going to find something that is wholly different, a new meteorite, you must look at new locations. Give it a whirl.

Ben

Edited by Regmaglitch
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Hi Mitchel,

If you're in an area where meteorites have not been found before, and not near or on the the edges of a known strewnfield, then

you're gonna make much faster time, and cover more ground by eye. If you find one, mark the spot physically or with GPS, go back to

the truck, get your detector, and have at it. Some folks might not have the best sight, but they HAVE glasses. Some say they'd walk right

over it without a detector. Well, only if it's buried, but usually the small ones are at the surface. Would the SAME person walk right over

an arrow head, or a pottery chard, or a sun-blackened 1880 dime? There is a learning curve to recognizing meteorites in the field. The best

people at it, that I know, brought home a ton of meteor-wrongs, and leaver-ite specimens. Most of them still do.

Ben

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A good example is a non-meteorite, non-prospecting, friend who told me she had found an old .44 rimfire cartridge case

while hiking in the desert. Even though it was sun-blackened like all of the rocks it was found in, as an object, it still had

properties that were different than the surrounding objects. If she can find that case, she can find a meteorite.

I now have her saving all her odd rocks that she finds, for me to look at later.

Ben

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Every time I go out detecting I am looking for a "cold find" be it gold or meteorite or some other odd item.
They are all "cold finds" to me because I left home with an empty nugget bottle or pocket. And if I am lucky enough to get over a worthwhile target it was a "cold find"

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