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peakbager

Gold basin claim map

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Here you go, trying to be tricky again. You keep equating "mineral" and "meteorite". Just because a meteorite has mineral in it does not mean it is covered by mining claims. Your claim that "everything is from space" is nonsense. I mean sure, it's factually true, but in the context of this conversation it's horseshit.

The "concept" of meteorites was not in dispute during the 20th century, it was settled by the L'Aigle fall of 1803. It was not disputed among academia for a long time before that.

The two "claims" linked above were made before Arizona was even a state and before the crater and iron surrounding it was known to be meteoritic; no such claims have ever been made or honored since, try again. Those two are not representative of the norm, in fact they are as far from the norm as you can get and you'll never find another like them, nor are they anything to base all your verbal wanderings on.

Looking for meteorites is in no way, shape, or form to be construed as exploring for minerals, except in the most literal sense you are attempting to portray it in.

What you put down looks good on paper, sort of, it has the illusion of intelligence, but it's not the way the real world works.

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it has the illusion of intelligence

Illusion of intelligence? :laught16:

You know a lot about meteorites Mike and I thank you for sharing your knowledge here.

You obviously don't know squat about the law. That's OK until you end up in a court where only two things matter - the law and the facts. I've presented both.

Anyone got any law or facts to support their theories? Anything else is just illusion.

Barry

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So - officially speaking - when does a meteorite stop being a meteorite and become just another part of the earth's minerals just like all the other former meteorites?

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You obviously don't know squat about the law. That's OK until you end up in a court where only two things matter - the law and the facts. I've presented both.

I think you understand how the laws are written, but how they're written and how the are practiced are entirely different. No ad hominem attack on my part, it was a description of what you're doing. At face value all that you've written appears intelligent, and as I've stated a few times there's nothing factually incorrect there, but it does not describe the actual process as they are practiced today, in real life. It was no attack on your character, merely an attack on the way you are presenting your facts.

Which of us is more likely to end up in court, me who knows you can't file a mining claim for meteorites, or you trying to defend a meteorite claim on the basis that meteorites contain minerals and therefore you can file a claim for them?

If you've ever been in court you'd know that what the law says and how it is interpreted are often totally different things.

Everything contains minerals, everything comes from space. But you can't file a mining claim for everything.

So - officially speaking - when does a meteorite stop being a meteorite and become just another part of the earth's minerals just like all the other former meteorites?

Although there is no such thing as an "official" position, the answer is: Never, until it has decomposed beyond recognition. Even fossilized meteorites are still considered meteorites and they contain 100% altered minerals.

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Which of us is more likely to end up in court, me who knows you can't file a mining claim for meteorites, or you trying to defend a meteorite claim on the basis that meteorites contain minerals and therefore you can file a claim for them?

Although there is no such thing as an "official" position, the answer is: Never, until it has decomposed beyond recognition. Even fossilized meteorites are still considered meteorites and they contain 100% altered minerals.

I have repeatedly stated that meteorites are not subject to mineral claim.

Giving hypothetical situations that involve me doing something I have already stated was an impossibility does nothing to respond to the law and the facts already presented.

I've given you case law (Judicial branch), Acts of Congress (Legislative branch) and successful mining claims with patents awarded for the minerals found in meteorites (Executive branch). That's about as "real life" as you can ever get with the law.

Take a little time, study the subject of mining claims law, and I'm sure you will understand the point I'm making.

Thanks for the reply on the transition point for meteorites Mike. It sounds like sometimes meteorites are more about outward appearance rather than composition? Does composition ever count for more than appearance in defining when a meteorite becomes just a mineral?

Minerals sometimes move within their series too - their composition can change over time by the addition or subtraction of one of the components of the mineral. The mineral name designation and composition change but they remain minerals nonetheless. Elements are generally immutable but the form they take with other elements can, and often does, transition with different forms of atomic bonding.

In many cases the job of the miner is to separate out those elements from their mineral forms.

Barry

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Much knowledge floating around here in this forum.

I think that the simple point of it all is: If there is a mineral claim of any kind, and you don't have permission from the claim owner, you could get in trouble if caught there with your detector. Regardless of what you are searching for.

The idea that anyone would dig a nugget while searching for meteorites, and then put the nugget back in the hole. Absurd.

Get the claim owners permission or don't go there.

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A lot of good information here.

But considering that most of the claims are not marked well it's kind of hard to determine what is a claim and what is not so I guess the bottom line is at least for me I just hunt I'm not looking for gold I'm not going to be digging up any light light light signals and if I do run across a claim of course I will respect full and MoveOn if they feel they need to call the authorities then so be it more than likely I wouldn't be there when they got there all the same definitely have to watch your peas and cues so as not to ruffle feathers.

I believe like Mike that meteorites are a non-detectable mineral which means that they are not covered on claims. But to reiterate I will be most respectful of people's property and their boundaries if they are well marked. Thanks again for all the info it was some good reading.

Bryan

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I've given you case law (Judicial branch), Acts of Congress (Legislative branch) and successful mining claims with patents awarded for the minerals found in meteorites (Executive branch). That's about as "real life" as you can ever get with the law.

Excepting that you cited a one-time affair that occurred over 150 years ago for a mistaken "iron ore" in a territory of the USA, not even a state, and has never since been duplicated. That cannot be considered case precedence in these matters because it's invalid in today's legal atmosphere. Find a mining claim like that filed in the 21st century, or even the 20th century, and then we'll have something to talk about.

Does composition ever count for more than appearance in defining when a meteorite becomes just a mineral?

I don't know that such a definition exists, so I'm not sure how to answer that.

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Bryan,

The first area a searcher should look at are the recorded claims in the county where you are hunting. Markers are often times vandalized, removed, destroyed by flood, etc. These events do not change the ownership of the land or the minerals.

We sometimes need to recognize that we are trespassing and just choose to ignore the consequences because enforcement is so difficult. Gold rush law and the 'law of the west' is not really the Law that Clay is talking about.

Clay,

I have a question for you about a purchase of land in Gold Basin or Arizona.

If I bought one of the subdivision lots of 10 acres right in the middle of the meteorite strewn field, who would own the meteorites on my purchased land? What if I purchased that land subject to the mineral rights being withheld by the previous owner (purchase without mineral rights)? What if I wanted Title Insurance on that land. (It had previously been Rail Road Land as per the grant from the government ... which rights were surface and which rights are mineral?)

These are just questions about knowing what I am buying.

Mitchel

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Excepting that you cited a one-time affair that occurred over 150 years ago for a mistaken "iron ore" in a territory of the USA, not even a state, and has never since been duplicated. That cannot be considered case precedence in these matters because it's invalid in today's legal atmosphere. Find a mining claim like that filed in the 21st century, or even the 20th century, and then we'll have something to talk about.

The claim was made in 1903 Mike - not 150 years ago and not in the 19th Century. The claim was made on United States public lands - no territorial land was involved. The claim was made under the same laws and in the same manner a claim is made today. I've already linked to those United States land records.

A patent was granted after a full legal mineral survey and investigation by the Department of the Interior under the same standards in effect today. In 1891 the USGS geologist declared that the iron compounds found there were meteoric in origin. Barringer, the USGS chief geologist, and the Interior Department were all aware of the nature of the origin of the deposit. It was discussed in several scientific journals and geologic conference papers at the time. Samples were tested by MIT and Harvard.

It should be mentioned that the only valuable minerals discovered or mined were the direct result of the meteorite impact and breakup. To this day there are no other mineral deposits or claims anywhere near the impact site. There are no other minerals that are classed as "valuable" there except the meteorite's minerals and the pure silica the impact produced.

If you could find another meteorite crater with associated valuable meteorite mineral debris on public lands open to entry you too could own your own Canyon Diablo as the Berringer's do to this day. I'm guessing those set of requirements are pretty rare so I'm not sure why a single successful example of those circumstances equates to a failure to establish a fact based meteorite mineral claim in your view. It happened, it's been challenged in the courts several times since it happened and it continues to be the law of the land.

The real point is not whether you believe the only facts presented are exactly what they appear to be. Belief often trumps facts in people's minds. The real issue is that mineral claimants have as much right to the meteorites found on their claims as they do to the all the other metals, minerals and gems found there.

No one has presented any facts, laws or even amusing anecdotes that point to a different conclusion than the one reached in 1903 by the Interior department, the USGS and the Congress. Minerals deposited by meteorites are the property of the owner of the mineral claim on which they are found.

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Bryan,

The first area a searcher should look at are the recorded claims in the county where you are hunting. Markers are often times vandalized, removed, destroyed by flood, etc. These events do not change the ownership of the land or the minerals.

We sometimes need to recognize that we are trespassing and just choose to ignore the consequences because enforcement is so difficult. Gold rush law and the 'law of the west' is not really the Law that Clay is talking about.

Clay,

I have a question for you about a purchase of land in Gold Basin or Arizona.

If I bought one of the subdivision lots of 10 acres right in the middle of the meteorite strewn field, who would own the meteorites on my purchased land? What if I purchased that land subject to the mineral rights being withheld by the previous owner (purchase without mineral rights)? What if I wanted Title Insurance on that land. (It had previously been Rail Road Land as per the grant from the government ... which rights were surface and which rights are mineral?)

These are just questions about knowing what I am buying.

Mitchel

Hi Mitchel, I can't give you legal advice about land purchases. Outside of that limitation I'll try to explain what I can.

You would have to investigate the patent grant to determine what rights were originally granted to the railroad. I happen to have a copy of that patent from 1924. The grant extends to all those lands "not mineral" with an exception to the definition of the word "mineral" to exclude iron and coal.

This is the standard 1866 Act railroad grant. It's generally held by the courts that "non mineral" means lands not known to be valuable for their minerals. Since the original grant was applied in 1880 - 1883 and Gold Basin wasn't generally acknowledged to have valuable minerals until the 1920's I'm guessing that those patents would be considered to have valid subsurface rights.

I can only guess because mineral rights are always adjudicated on a case by case basis. In other words you would have to win or lose a suit involving those specific lands to get a concrete answer. I doubt that would be a problem there because I know of no extralateral rights near to those lots that could present a challenge. Something a purchaser of land there might need to know but not something easily discerned in an evening forum discussion.

Of course the next question would have to be what rights are being offered along with the sale of the real estate. That's also something that would have to be determined on a case by case basis. Often residential lots and real estate are only documented by title insurance or warranty deed. Full ownership would be accomplished by an assignment of patent. I seriously doubt that an assignment or subsurface rights would be offered on a residential lot.

Probably the only thing we can be sure about the railroad patents in the Gold Basin area is:

They are private lands.

The minerals don't belong to the public or the United States.

I'm pretty sure that if you were to discover a meteorite on lands where you owned the surface and subsurface rights no one would have standing to challenge your ownership. It's an axiom of property law that meteorites belong to the owner of the mineral rights in the land.

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Clay,

It seems that the BLM in its memo about limiting the collection of meteorites to 10 lbs per year (I can get unlimited gold) is using a different standard. They are stating:

Courts have long established that meteorites belong to the owner of the surface estate. Therefore, meteorites found on public lands are part of the BLM’s surface estate, belong to the Federal Government, and must be managed as natural resources in accordance with the FLPMA of 1976.

Meteorites do not meet the definition of a mineral resource under the general mining and mineral laws. Therefore, mining claims cannot be located for meteorites.

What Courts are the BLM using to make their operating policies? They describe the meteorite further as a natural resource and not a mineral. This goes back directly to your discussion with Mike and Ben.

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I was a bit off on my timing, 50 years, but the rest of what I wrote is valid. You cannot keep citing the Barringer claim as a foundation for your argument. That, as you have noted, was a one-time affair. It was territorial land back then, it was part of the Arizona Territory, it was not a state. Nothing like that will ever happen again because we know so much more today about meteorites and their origins than we did over 100 years ago, among other reason. When that claim was filed there was no widely accepted proof that the iron was meteoritic, a few folks had hunches, but that's it. Even if you were to locate a crater with iron meteorites around it, as you suggested, you will never be able to file a mining claim for the mineral rights to the minerals in said meteorites, it's just not going to happen.

There is no mention of meteorites in the Antiquities Act but that's not surprising since only human activities or human material remains are the subject of that Act.

There is no connection between the Antiquities Act and meteorites. The fact that the Antiquities Act is often raised in these discussions is probably due to the myths surrounding the Old Woman case. That case did not address meteorites but internet myth continues to circulate that it did.

Here's some of the myths you referenced:

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/national_instruction/2012/IM_2012-182.html

"The policy provides guidance to managers for administering the collection of meteorites on public lands in three use categories: casual collection of small quantities without a permit; scientific and educational use by permit under the authority of the Antiquities Act; and commercial collection of meteorites through the issuance of land use permits."

"Individuals or institutions intending to collect meteorites for scientific research or educational use must obtain an Antiquities Act permit through a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Office, in accordance with 43 CFR 3."

"Applications for an Antiquities Act permit will be reviewed by the authorized officer in the BLM State Office with jurisdiction over the Cultural Resources program."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/wo/Information_Resources_Management/policy/im_attachments/2012.Par.65264.File.dat/IM2012-182_att1.pdf

"The courts have long established that meteorites belong to the owner of the surface estate on which meteorites are found. This premise is based on the common laws of property as amended by the courts. As such, the BLM is responsible for the management of meteorites under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 as amended, including casual and commercial collection. In addition, the Ninth Circuit Court determined that scientific collecting is authorized by the Antiquities Act of 1906."

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Well Mitchel I can't say what the basis for the BLM's long expired policy memorandum is. I imagine there is a reason the memorandum was allowed to expire. They, as usual, have not replied to my questions. They "cite" the Old Woman case but as I've already shown the courts refused to hear that case and dismissed it both times. Neither the 9th Circuit Court or the District Court would consider the case so there was no judgement beyond that the case couldn't be heard by a court. I've already linked to that refusal. No matter how many times the BLM or meteorite hunters show the BLM expired memorandum that case decided nothing about meteorites ownership.

The Antiquities Act clearly states that minerals and natural objects not worked by human hands are exempt. There is no provision in the Antiquities Act for anything not a product of human civilization.

There is a pretty firm basis in law for the disposition of meteorites so I'm not sure why the BLM can't figure it out. The usual case cited when it comes to natural objects falling from outer space is Goddard v, Winchell decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in 1892. Every lawyer knows this case because it's used in law school to teach the application of the common law to property cases where there is no guiding statute.

Common law is the fallback for courts when there is a need for a civil judgement involving property but the situation hasn't been addressed by the legislature. This is way more common than most people would imagine.

In Goddard v, Winchell the dispute was over a fragment of the Forest City meteorite that fell on Goddard's field. Much like Ben and Mike the man who found and dug up the meteorite proposed the meteorite belonged to the finder. The court ruled for Goddard because under the common law natural objects found in the soil belong to the owner of the subsurface estate. That subsurface owner was Goddard so the meteorite was his even though Winchell found and recovered the meteorite.

In an entirely different case in Oregon the neighbor, the feds and the state tried to claim ownership of the Willamette meteorite. The case was Oregon Iron Company v. Hughes and this time the Oregon Supreme Court went with the common law principle that the owner of the soil where it was found was the owner of the meteorite - not the finder, feds or the State.

I know of one more meteorite case but I can't seem to find it in my library. The case wasn't appealed or published so it's not going to make it into law school curriculum like Goddard. In that case a man discovered a meteorite that had fallen through his roof and onto the floor. The usual suspects tried to claim the meteorite as "historical" or of national importance. The court ruled that the common law still applied and the meteorite belonged to the owner of the house.

In none of these cases was any law found that could possibly be relied on to cause the meteorite to be considered the property of the government or of the finder if they were not the owner of the property.

Mining Claimants are universally recognized to be the owners of the subsurface mineral estate within the bounds of their claim. The public lands are universally recognized as being the property of the public.

There is no law or court decision anywhere at any time that finds meteorites to belong to either the Federal government, the BLM or the Smithsonian.

While much has been bantered about concerning the weakness of the Barringer meteorite claim it should be pointed out that several suits have been brought to invalidate the Berringer claims in the last 30 years. At least one of those included the BLM as plaintiff. In every case the patents were upheld. That's not really surprising to anyone who studies mining law.

Besides being an extremely successful miner Barringer was also a respected geologist and a lawyer. He was the co-author of the very influential The Law of Mines and Mining in the United States still commonly found on mining lawyer's desks. He also was the author of Minerals of Commercial Value as well as presenting several papers at Harvard, Princeton and MIT. He is generally credited with advancing and proving the theory of craters formed by meteorites. Hardly the ignorant bumbling piker most meteorite hunters would like to portray him as.

The BLM can, and will, continue to spread propaganda about meteorites as well as many other land status subjects. So will the State Department, television news, Sierra Club, Forest Service and many more "authorities". Believe who you choose to believe. When the rubber meets the road none of those "authorities" will be representing you in court. Neither will I.

Maybe the legal requirement to "Do your own Due Diligence" isn't such a bad thing? Or you could rely on a long expired internal instructional policy memorandum from an agency who is famous for getting it wrong. Your choice.

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I know of one more meteorite case but I can't seem to find it in my library. The case wasn't appealed or published so it's not going to make it into law school curriculum like Goddard. In that case a man discovered a meteorite that had fallen through his roof and onto the floor. The usual suspects tried to claim the meteorite as "historical" or of national importance. The court ruled that the common law still applied and the meteorite belonged to the owner of the house.

Two more for you:

Lorton. It was disputed whether the landlord or occupying tenant of the structure was the owner of the meteorite that fell through its roof.

http://jonathanturley.org/2010/01/30/meteorite-sets-off-firestorm-of-litigation-in-lorton/

http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202446510671/Who-owns-the-meteorite?slreturn=20150205183533

Sylacauga. "Air Force specialists identified it as a meteorite and sent it to curators at the Smithsonian Institution, who, delighted with their windfall, declined to send it back to Alabama. Not until Alabama Congressman Kenneth Roberts intervened was the meteorite finally returned to the state, where it soon became the focus of a highly public legal battle. ... Television, radio and newspaper excitement lasted for weeks, highlighted by a very public dispute between the Hodges and Birdie Guy, who owned the home in which the Hodges lived as renters. Facing repair expenses for the damaged house, Guy was advised by her attorney that legal precedent had established that meteorites were the property of the landowner, and she sued for possession of the rock. The Hodges threatened to counter-sue for Ann's injuries, and the outraged public sided with her. Before it went to trial, cooler heads prevailed and after a modest private settlement, Guy gave up her claim on the meteorite to the Hodges."

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1280

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Well Mitchel I can't say what the basis for the BLM's long expired policy memorandum is. I imagine there is a reason the memorandum was allowed to expire.

Clay,

The policy memorandum I refer to is from 2012 and as far as I know this is still current and this information is handed out to the public if there is an inquiry. I went to one BLM office in central Nevada and it was of very little concern to them because no one ever brought them meteorites and asked about them!

It seems now with this memorandum that some government employee could challenge the ownership of a meteorite if they deemed too many were being offered for sale. There are instances of meteorite dealers being challenged about some of their inventories.

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Here's a link to the memorandum on the BLM site Mitchel. In the upper left you will see the expiration date:

EMS TRANSMISSION 09/12/2012
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-182
Expires: 09/30/2013
Instruction memorandums are not laws, regulations or rules.
They are internal memos from higher ups about how to accomplish a job. This memo has expired so it's safe to say it no longer applies.
Barry

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Its depressing enough knowing that even with game cameras, proving mineral trespass would be hard enough to catch someone in the act, but now they can say I was only looking for remnants of the Wickenburg Meteor strike. You really have to trust your fellow man to not be highgrading from your claim.

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If they make that claim and don't have a rare earth magnet on them, you know they're lying.

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Barry - Perhaps you can clear up some questions I have. When you file a claim there are no questions asked about what you are mining so BLM would not be granting or not granting a claim for meteorites. It is simply Lode or Placer on the claim forms. If I filed a claim because I found gold I am still solely entitled to all other minerals I may find. I would even be entitled to the iron even if it happen to have once came from a meteorite.

Now if I filed a claim based only on the minerals that came from a meteorite fall, could I not be asked to prove that the mineral content was commercially viable? My understanding is the validity of a claim can be questioned and it would be up to the claimant to prove that the value of the resource was economically viable. I have seen records of this happening a few times in Arizona on claims that were for nonmetallic resources.

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It sounds like you have a very good grasp of the location laws Haderly.

Claims made for any valuable minerals can be subjected to a mineral examination by the BLM at any time for any reason.

It doesn't matter what valuable mineral you made the claim for, if you can't show a valuable mineral deposit exists there your claim has not been perfected.

An unperfected claim is not necessarily invalid or void just because it doesn't pass the test. I think that's where your question lies?

Should the BLM challenge your claim to complete land status determination for a proposed, upcoming or existing mineral closure you could lose the claim if it's not perfected. Only those claims with proven valuable mineral deposits survive mineral closures. If you can show a perfected claim it doesn't matter if the closure is for a National Park or for Wilderness you claim remains valid as long as you maintain it.

If the mineral examination is just to satisfy their curiosity your claim would not be declared void or invalid for failure but until you prove the claim your rights in it are merely possessory against others exploring for valuable minerals. If there is no evidence of valuable minerals whatsoever that could go an entirely different way.

None of that depends on what valuable minerals your claim was located for. The minerals found in meteorites are exactly the same minerals concentrated by secondary or other processes. As long as a locatable mineral deposit is being actively pursued and you maintain possession of the claim it remains yours to explore.

The test for a perfected claim is called the prudent man test and marketability is a component of the prudent man test. The prudent man test is whether a prudent man would pursue the deposit with a reasonable expectation of making a return. You do not need to prove that you would make a profit, only that one could reasonably expect a return on their investment in time, money and effort.

Barry

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