standby for grayton photo
Found October 30, 1983
30° 18′ 42′ N., 86° 10′ W. A large, unbroken, 11.3 kg stone was found about 200 meters from the high tide line and 1 meter below the surface by two treasure hunters, Mr. Phillip Gibson and Dr. John Green, while using metal detectors. They were searching for Spanish armor in an ancient Indian refuse heap near Grayton Beach, Florida when they found the 23 × 18 × 17.5 cm dark-brown stone. The stone is without a distinct fusion crust due to the presence of a silicate encrustation formed during its extended residence in wet sand.


Suspecting the stone was not from the area, they contacted the Earth Sciences Department at Pensacola Junior College where professors Wooten, Palma, and Exum concluded that it might be a meteorite. They sent a sample to Harold Povenmire of the Florida Fireball Patrol who initially thought it was a sedimentary ferriginous sandstone nodule commonly found along the coastal beaches of the southeast. However, after learning of the find circumstances and running some tests, including comparisons to known chondrites, he concluded that it was a meteorite. A small slice was subsequently sent to Glenn Huss of the American Meteorite Laboratory, who verified its meteoritical origin, and then to Dr. Andrew Graham of the British Museum of Natural History for classification. The photo above shows an 11.2 g specimen cut from the interior of the Grayton mass. The photos below show the original mass as found.


standby for grayton photo
Photo courtesy Meteoritics, vol. 19 (1984)


standby for grayton photo
Hal Povenmire holding the Grayton meteorite
Photo courtesy of ‘The Walton Sun’ (21 Nov 2013) An article reporting on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the Grayton meteorite, ‘Treasure-hunters unearth meteorite’, by Brian Doyle, was published in the ‘Northwest Florida Daily News’ in 1983. In November 2013, ‘Grayton ’s meteoric moment: 30 years later, resident recalls discovery’ was published by Jennie McKeon in ‘The Walton Sun’, which includes an interview with Phil Gibson, one of the original finders of the Grayton meteorite.


Due in part to the intense temperature and moisture conditions in the state of Florida, only four meteorites have been found there to date, in addition to two recovered falls. Besides Grayton Beach, approximately 1 kg of L4 fragments were brought up in a net offshore of Lake Okechobee, a 502 g H4 stone was plowed up in Eustis, and a 41.8 kg H5 stone was found in Bonita Springs. In 2004, November 8 at 6:15 P.M., Orlando resident Donna Shuford heard a meteorite bounce off her car and hit the side of her house. Fragments composing an ~180 g eucrite were recovered. In 2016, January 24 at 10:27 A.M., numerous eyewitnesses observed a bright fireball over northern Florida near the Osceola National Forest. Utilizing radar images from several stations, a group of hunters successfully plotted the fall site and recovered 8 stones over many weeks having a combined weight of 1,099.6 g. The L6 chondrite fell within a forested wetlands region delimiting a strewn field of approximately 5 miles × 1 mile.

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