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I went on a little family vacation this weekend that included a visit to an area where I wanted to hunt for meteorites. There are no recorded finds from this area but for various reasons it looked good to me. After just a couple hours of hunting I walked up on this beauty. At first I thought it was just a piece of magnetite or something but after realizing I hadn't seen a single rock like this anywhere I took a closer look and thought maybe it was a meteorite. I went back to the truck to get my wife and kids and we started looking for some more. I quickly found another nice sized piece about 10 yards away and another small piece about 30 yards away. My wife found another smaller piece about 40 yards in the other direction. Once back at camp I was able to fit all the pieces together. Upon closer inspection I was also convinced it was a meteorite.

As the sun was setting we spread out over a wider area for a quick look for any other pieces farther away. My wife and daughter found a couple of possible fragments that although attracted to a magnet and generally the right color had a very different texture and more weathered appearance. These were found about a quarter mile from the other pieces. I subsequently found several more smaller pieces of the same appearance between the fragments they had found.

Once at home I was able to get a good look at the specimens under my dissecting microscope and could clearly see condrules and metal in all of the pieces from the first find. The stones from the second site were not so clear cut. I ground off a small area on one piece and polished it as best I could and it appears that it also contains chondrules but is definitely more weathered.

I went back out this morning for a couple of hours and found a few more pieces that also fit together with the others from the first site. In total all the pieces from the first find amount to about 650g.

I took a few iPhone photos of the first find in the field and through my microscope that I'll try to post. I don't know if I can get a decent photo of the possible chondrules in the second stone. By the way those are my daughters painted nails in the photo not mine. Just sayin'. She's holding the two biggest pieces together.

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Congrats, looks just like a patina covered unclassified chondrite from the Sahara! Probably more out there if you found this after only a couple hours, keep looking.

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Thanks. I'll be back out there A.S.A.P. except the transmission literally blew up on my truck today. Just in time for Christmas too.

Where do you guys take your finds for classification? My buddy took one he found to ASU two years ago and he still hasn't heard back from them or even had a return email or phone call?

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I'm guessing the pieces were strewn about due to erosion rather than impact or aerial breakup. If they broke up in the air I'd expect them to be spread out farther. They were on a gentle slope and generally distributed along the fall line of the slope.

I'm wondering if the pieces from 1/4 mile away might be from the same fall but spent some time buried underground and that's why they look so much more weathered. Any ideas on that one? I'm still not sure they are even meteorite but they could be and are also unique to the area.

Here's a crappy photo through the microscope of the ground off surface of the second find.

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weathering can certainly change the appearance of the same meteorite. Some of the gold basins I have found look way different from others...

I am assuming you have checked that they are attracted to a magnet and the nickel iron is there ( I can't see it clearly).

best wishes

fred

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I'm sure the first one (and the associated pieces) is a meteorite.

After looking very carefully with a dissecting microscope I'm more confident the other more weathered pieces are also meteorite fragments but still not totally convinced. I can see some very chondrule looking inclusions some of which have a fan shaped crystalline structure similar to what I've seen in photograpsh of chondrules. They have metal in the matrix and are strongly attracted to a magnet.

I also went through a bunch of other small pieces that we picked up with magnets in the same area and they don't look exactly like the other chondrites but I'd say there is a very small chance that they might be some kind I don't recognize. The feature that makes me doubt they are meteorites is that they appear to have some clear and white inclusions that look like quartz. Maybe there is some other mineral that looks similar that would occur in meteorites but I know quartz does not occur except in tiny trace amounts. Still these are attracted to a magnet very well, have a noncrystalline structure, have some round inclusions similar to chondrules, and have some areas that look like they are shot through with iron in extremely fine veins. I have looked at photos of other types of meteorites and have seen some with white inclusions so who knows.

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Reading up on classification tells me that basically nobody wants to classify ordinary chondrites anymore. Is that true? I'd sure like to get this one classified since it is a new find and there are no other recorded finds anywhere near it.

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ASU Center for Meteorite Studies classifier, Lawrence Garvie lgarvie@asu.edu will do it. He is very keen to get all true AZ finds classified. He will NOT consider your stone unless you can show credentials of serious knowledge and involvement with actual meteorites and the meteorite community.

billpeters

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Would "credentials of serious knowledge" = a book on meteorites, a strong magnet on the end of a pick, an AZ driver's license, and membership on Nuggetshooter?

How about stickers in your socks and an obvious ( if there is such a thing) :brows: meteorite in hand?

ASU Center for Meteorite Studies classifier, Lawrence Garvie lgarvie@asu.edu will do it. He is very keen to get all true AZ finds classified. He will NOT consider your stone unless you can show credentials of serious knowledge and involvement with actual meteorites and the meteorite community.

billpeters

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That policy seems self-defeating since many finds are made by "casual" meteorite hunters...it can't hurt to give a little Bio when you ask him to classify it.

fred

Possibly a simple signed statement from someone in the spacerockhound community that said rock is something to be seen by an expert and is not a waste of time.

:idunno: Maybe the guy is just hounded too much and has grown weary of time wasted with leverite.

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I think they just try to eliminate the random, "Hey I found this rock, is it a meteorite?" people by asking for a little info. Tell him you look for meteorites and stuff and that should be enough, along with some good pictures.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From what I can tell Laurence Garvie isn't at ASU anymore. He is not listed as staff and his job is being advertised as open. He still has never replied to emails about his classification of a meteorite he took a sample from over two years ago.

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  • 3 months later...

I spoke to Mr. Garvie at the ASU, SESE, Center for Meteorite Studies open house in March just a month ago. He was with Ruben Garcia. I monopolized about an hour of their time trying to soak up as much of their knowledge as I could. Take your meteorites to their next open house. You will pique their interest. They post their open houses on FB and twitter, just follow them.

Edited by Strapped
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Laurence Garvie still has a piece that we brought him two years ago and we can't get him to even return a call or email.  I was going to go to the latest open house but went meteorite hunting instead.  If I had known it was going to be like this I would not have let him cut it and take a sample but he was so excited at the time.  I later found a second piece of the one he cut that fits with the first one perfectly.  We hunted all over that area and never found another piece though.  The two pieces we did find were only about 30' apart.

For what it's worth, a very well known meteorite hunter has looked at the find pictured above and the other weathered pieces found near it and confirms that they are also meteorites.  Possibly just much more weathered pieces of the same fall.  Looks like I may have a new little strewn field. Unfortunately I haven't been able to make it back to that area.

I've been hunting pretty hard in the last few months in another area more than 100 miles from the find pictured above and have come up with some more cold finds.  Unfortunately with the current state of classifying labs turning away meteorites I know most of these finds will never get a classification or a name.  As a scientist myself I'd like to add to the knowledge base with my finds but I guess that will not happen.  I'm just happy to add them to my little collection.

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