On July 20, 2019, our local ABC news station (KVUE) came by to interview me for the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. I really enjoyed discussing meteorites and sharing some of my collection with the audience. I thought Hank Cavagnaro did a great job of properly presenting meteorites for the audience.
I remember hearing the sad news in June of 2018 that Anthony Bourdain, famous chef, book author, TV personality and overall down-to-earth super cool dude, had taken his own life. Crystal (my wife) and I happened to be in Colmar, France where he died shortly after the announcement as we were attending the Ensisheim Work in progress. A solid natural object reaching a planet’s surface from interplanetary space. Solid portion of a meteoroid that survives its fall to Earth, or some other body. Meteorites are classified as stony meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony-iron meteorites. These groups are further divided according to their mineralogy and Click on Term to Read More show and though we did not visit the site, we did feel a sense of loss at the passing of one of the few real people in reality TV. Like many fans, we really enjoyed watching Anthony’s adventures on TV and I remembered watching in fascination the show (see below) where certified blade-master, Bob Kramer, made Tony’s now famous meteorite chef knife. So, when I saw a press release in early October 2019 that this specific knife would go up for auction, I was really excited. iGavel Auctions had predicted it would sell for anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000, and I figured I had a chance. Once bidding opened, the price quickly rose to around $22,000, and my dreams fell equally fast. The bids stayed at that level for most of October, The bidding got stuck at around $22K and I guessed it might go up as high as $30,000.
Out of the more than 200 listings in the auction, Bourdain’s chef knife netted the highest bid of $185,000. After adding in the 25% buyer’s premium of $46,250, the total price came to a whopping $231,250!
On March 3, 2010, veteran Work in progress. A solid natural object reaching a planet’s surface from interplanetary space. Solid portion of a meteoroid that survives its fall to Earth, or some other body. Meteorites are classified as stony meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony-iron meteorites. These groups are further divided according to their mineralogy and Click on Term to Read More hunter Sonny Clary took Count Guido Roberto Deiro (the son of the famous a famous vaudeville Self-luminous object held together by its own self-gravity. Often refers to those objects which generate energy from nuclear reactions occurring at their cores, but may also be applied to stellar remnants such as neutron stars., Count Guido Pietro Deiro) out to the Nevada desert for the Count’s first full-length hunt. On this hunt, Guido discovered a 17.5 kg meteorite buried in the desert sand. This stone was later classified as Stump Spring 083, a LL6 Work in Progress Ordinary chondrites (OCs) are the largest meteorite clan, comprising approximately 87% of the global collection and 78% of all falls (Meteoritical Society database 2018)1. Meteorites & the Early Solar System: page 581 section 6.1 OC of type 5 or 6 with an apparent shock stage of S1, Click on Term to Read More with a weathering grade of W2 and shock of stage of S1.
Below is the story, written by the finder himself and republished with permission.
I began to study meteorites about a year ago as a diversion to take my mind off the two years of radiation and chemo treatments I had been undergoing for stage IV metastasized cancer. I had responded well for a 72 year old and was in remission. I needed some new pursuit to get my mental and physical health back. Little did I know that I was about to catch another disease … and this one incurable … the obsession with meteorites.
After purchasing some sixty different types and classifications, a stereo scope and a cabinet for comparison purposes … and reading numerous posts on List and dozens of papers, attending Tucson … putting faces on all whom I had met online … I decided I was ready to go into the field.
I was fortunate to have made acquaintance with Sonny Clary who lives nearby. He had become my mentor, given me samples and shown me some pointers on hunting by taking me on a short local trip to look at an area of interest. We spent maybe two hours in the field. Sonny moves quickly, his acute vision and experience letting him cover a lot of ground in very little time. I found I was more comfortable going my own way and not slowing him up. Neither he, nor I, found anything.
I have four grandsons and I spent a few hours in some vacant fields in Las Vegas throwing down weathered samples and demonstrating to them the use of the cane and Any device used to sense the passage of a particle or photon (x-ray, γ-ray, etc.). X-rays can be detected using sealed-gas proportional, gas-flow proportional detectors, and Li-drifted Si semiconductor detectors. A Li-drifted Ge detector is used to count γ-rays in the laboratory. Click on Term to Read More. Ten year old , Vincent, was fascinated. The others nonplussed.
Night before last, on May 2nd, Sonny called late and invited me to spend my first full day hunting an area he felt was promising several hours away. We met at his home and loaded up the gear, food and water. Brix, his super Alsatian, whined excitedly knowing we were going on a hunt. Sonny has trained Brix to the point that the dog will bring him rocks in the field. No meteorites yet … but it will happen (see story of Brix finding a Mifflin meteorite).
We arrived in the desert around nine o’clock. The temperature was a pleasant 67 degrees under clear skies and no wind. We saddled up and agreed as to which way each of us would go. Sonny took off to the left and I to the right. Within minutes we were out of sight of each other. We did have a means of communicating electronically in the event of an emergency. Both of us are Nevadans and have spent years in the desert hunting game, Sonny meteorites and in my case, before it became illegal, early man artifacts.
After several hours with no luck, we met back at the truck and traveled two miles north on the valley floor. After another hour or two of nothing but How long Sonic booms Of the several 10s of tons of cosmic material entering Earth's atmosphere each day, only about one ton reaches the surface. An object's chance of survival depends on its initial mass, speed and angle of entry, and friability (tendency to break up). Micrometeoroids radiate heat so Click on Term to Read More wrongs picked up from the desert pavement, Sonny decided to expand our search area again several miles west.
This time we were on excellent ground. Flat, with very little Pertaining to C-containing compounds. Organic compounds can be formed by both biological and non-biological (abiotic) processes. Click on Term to Read More growth and hardly any rocks at all. If they were here, the meteorites would stand out prominently. Again, Sonny strode off northwest with Brix roaming in front of him. Brix has received snake avoidance training and a good thing, because the rattlers, including the feared “Mohave Green”, are coming out of their dens this time of year to warm themselves, and shed their winter skin, making them ill tempered and aggressive. Sonny hunted with no assistance from cane, or detector. I used my staff with a circular neodymium magnet screwed on the end.
I followed Sonny to the west, deciding to make the first leg of my search into the Oxidation and reduction together are called redox (reduction and oxidation) and generally characterized by the transfer of electrons between chemical species, like molecules, atoms or ions, where one species undergoes oxidation, a loss of electrons, while another species undergoes reduction, a gain of electrons. This transfer of electrons between reactants Click on Term to Read More visibility of the Our parent star. The structure of Sun's interior is the result of the hydrostatic equilibrium between gravity and the pressure of the gas. The interior consists of three shells: the core, radiative region, and convective region. Image source: http://eclipse99.nasa.gov/pages/SunActiv.html. The core is the hot, dense central region in which the, so I could make the other two half mile legs with the sun at my side and rear to highlight the ground and prevent squinting. I have special tinted prescription glasses that provide some UV protection, reduce eye strain and sharpen the field of view.
Sonny and Brix were quickly out of sight. About an hour and a half into things and while walking forward a few paces at a 45 degree angle to the left and then to the right, my scan picked up an irregular shape 50′ to my right. It was so out of place as to shape and color that I knew immediately it was a possible. I turned and walked toward it. As I got within a few yards I could see that it had the familiar dark desert patina that I had studied on my Gold Basin samples. It was a three inch high tip sticking out of the ground like a triangular iceberg. I started to laugh out loud as I walked around it in a tight circle. Taking my cane, I carefully placed it close along side dangling it loosely between two fingers. Nevada Chondrites are the most common meteorites accounting for ~84% of falls. Chondrites are comprised mostly of Fe- and Mg-bearing silicate minerals (found in both chondrules and fine grained matrix), reduced Fe/Ni metal (found in various states like large blebs, small grains and/or even chondrule rims), and various refractory inclusions (such Click on Term to Read More tend to have low Element that readily forms cations and has metallic bonds; sometimes said to be similar to a cation in a cloud of electrons. The metals are one of the three groups of elements as distinguished by their ionization and bonding properties, along with the metalloids and nonmetals. A diagonal line drawn Click on Term to Read More. The cane moved slowly against the rock. So subtle was it’s movement that I didn’t immediately believe it and had to do the exercise all around the tip. Each time it “clicked” I got a rush of excitement. Before I could contain myself, I reached down and grabbed the exposed tip and pulled. My hand slipped off.
I began to dig with my hands. Down two inches. Still no movement. Step back. Put scale cube down. Take picture. Three more inches and shove it with your foot. No movement. More pictures and the thought of “How in the hell did I get this lucky?” Frantic digging like a rabid gopher. “How big was this thing?” “Wow” “Wait An unconsolidated, poorly sorted sediment deposited by glaciers. Till contains rock and mineral fragments of all sizes from clay-size particles to massive boulders. Sonny sees this.” Then I got greedy. I didn’t want it to stop getting bigger, but finally at a depth of about nine inches I was able to go under the edge of the triangular shape. I stood up, put my foot against it and shoved. It came free from it’s thousands of years entrapment in the desert floor. I had my first Meteorite not seen to fall, but recovered at some later date. For example, many finds from Antarctica fell 10,000 to 700,000 years ago. Click on Term to Read More.
I called Sonny on cell. At first he thought I was joking, but when I offered a $100 wager if he came and found it was not a meteorite, he started his trek to my location. He arrived in fifteen minutes, the last few yards with a huge grin on his face and his arms out stretched. “Dude” he said. “You the man.” We were like a couple of kids for a minute. Literally pounding each others fists and laughing. I have never seen Sonny so animated. Brix immediately went to the meteorite, and curling around it, he laid down on guard. It was his now.
Photos provided by Sonny Clary at Nevadameteorites.com
This post is based, in part, on content licensed from E. Wichman from the defunct website www.meteoritesUSA.com that was purchased by SkyFall Meteorites.
Brix is his name, a Work in progress. A solid natural object reaching a planet’s surface from interplanetary space. Solid portion of a meteoroid that survives its fall to Earth, or some other body. Meteorites are classified as stony meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony-iron meteorites. These groups are further divided according to their mineralogy and Click on Term to Read More hunting German Shepard owned by meteorite hunter extraordinaire Sonny Clary. Brix is now the worlds first “trained meteorite dog” to have found a meteorite! It seems meteorite finding dogs are becoming popular! Little over a year ago the world was introduced to “Hopper” the meteorite finding dog in West, Texas, that found a meteorite from the now famous Ash Creek meteorite Meteorite seen to fall. Such meteorites are usually collected soon after falling and are not affected by terrestrial weathering (Weathering = 0). Beginning in 2014 (date needs confirmation), the NomComm adopted the use of the terms "probable fall" and "confirmed fall" to provide better insight into the meteorite's history. If Click on Term to Read More in 2009.
Now it’s happened again, this time though it’s a little different in that Sonny actually trained Brix to hunt meteorites in the deserts of Nevada where Sonny is famous for finding hundreds, if not thousands, of meteorites.
Sonny is a veteran meteorite hunter and has found thousands of meteorites in the deserts and dry lakes of the Nevada wilderness.
Brix is not new to fame! Recently he has been seen on the Science Channel’s very popular Meteorite Men show, a series about meteorite hunting.
Congratulations go out to Sonny for a job well done, and mostly to Brix though! ;-) He is after all the dog who found the 198g meteorite! See Sonny’s full adventure on the Nevada Meteorites Website.
Postscript: I am sad to report that Brix passed away on Nov. 2, 2019. Here is Sonny Clary’s Facebook post:
It is with a heavy heart today that we helped our Best Buddy Brix cross the rainbow bridge. Brix was born on 4-17-2008 and passed today 11-2-2019. I can’t tell you what an amazing companion he was for all of those years. There was not an adventure that he wasn’t up to. He hiked, rode on the back of the ATV, found his own meteorites, witnessed a Tornado, appeared on meteorite hunting television shows, traveled all around the country. He was a loyal to companion to our whole family and always brought a smile to our face. We sure will miss our Old Buddy. Brix was diagnosed with a brain tumor last January. He was treated with radiation and he was able to hang out with us for another 10 months.
This post is based, in part, on content licensed from E. Wichman from the defunct website www.meteoritesUSA.com that was purchased by SkyFall Meteorites.
This article was written by Eric Wichman. Any modifications made by SkyFall Meteorites were only for clarity and grammar. You can view photos of Eric Wichman’s Work in progress. A solid natural object reaching a planet’s surface from interplanetary space. Solid portion of a meteoroid that survives its fall to Earth, or some other body. Meteorites are classified as stony meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony-iron meteorites. These groups are further divided according to their mineralogy and Click on Term to Read More finds at the bottom of this article, and also read the article he wrote on “The Great WI Meteorite Fall & Strewnfield” in the July issue of Meteorite Hunting & Collecting Magazine.
After much work and the combined efforts of countless meteorite hunters, collectors, dealers and scientist’s data. The Mifflin, Wisconsin meteorite strewnfield map is done.
Disclaimer: Don’t use these maps to hunt meteorites! These maps are for educational and informational purposes only. If you use these maps for hunting meteorites, you do so at your own risk. Do not hunt on landowners land without gaining permission to hunt FIRST!
Official Name: Mifflin
Observed Meteorite seen to fall. Such meteorites are usually collected soon after falling and are not affected by terrestrial weathering (Weathering = 0). Beginning in 2014 (date needs confirmation), the NomComm adopted the use of the terms "probable fall" and "confirmed fall" to provide better insight into the meteorite's history. If Click on Term to Read More: Yes
Fell: April 14, 2010, 10:07 pm CDT (UT-5)
Mass: (TKW) 3.58 kg
Mifflin: 42 °54’27″N, 90 °21’56″W
Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States
Classification: Work in Progress Ordinary chondrites (OCs) are the largest meteorite clan, comprising approximately 87% of the global collection and 78% of all falls (Meteoritical Society database 2018)1. Meteorites & the Early Solar System: page 581 section 6.1 OC of type 5 or 6 with an apparent shock stage of S1, Click on Term to Read More (L5)
Mass (g): >3584
A petrographic assessment, using features observed in minerals grains, of the degree to which a meteorite has undergone shock metamorphism. The highest stage observed in 25% of the indicator grains is used to determine the stage. Also called "shock level". Click on Term to Read More: S1
Weathering grade: W0
Thanks go out to all those who contributed data to help in the creation of this map. As far as I know there is no other Wisconsin meteorite fall strewnfield map which is more accurate with more coordinate locations that is publicly available.
All locations are accurate to within 10-20 feet of actual Meteorite not seen to fall, but recovered at some later date. For example, many finds from Antarctica fell 10,000 to 700,000 years ago. Click on Term to Read More location. The variance is only due to the accuracy of the GPS device which recorded the data. If you happen to find an error or omission please let me know and I’ll get it fixed when I have time.
The distribution of the meteorites within the marked area suggest there are much larger pieces further southeast of Inorganic substance that is (1) naturally occurring (but does not have a biologic or man-made origin) and formed by physical (not biological) forces with a (2) defined chemical composition of limited variation, has a (3) distinctive set of of physical properties including being a solid, and has a (4) homogeneous Click on Term to Read More Point where the last 105.1g stone was found by Michael Cottingham. The 1.5g stone furthest to the northwest was found by a local meteorite hunter/landowner.
The path of the A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky. A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation. Click on Term to Read More took it over Preston, WI, Past Mifflin, and out further beyond Mineral Point dropping meteorites along the way.
Size of the WI Strewnfield
Video analysis of the fireball recorded from Milwaukee suggests the last two bursts or “fragmentation events” happened over Mineral Point, and eyewitness accounts have also supported this, meaning that much larger pieces of the WI meteorite can most likely be found further southeast of Mineral point. It’s possible the known strewnfield, as depicted in these maps, only account for HALF of the actual distribution ellipse. Given the very shallow 11 degree angle of descent, it’s been estimated by experts to be up to 25 miles long, perhaps longer.
Current known size is 16.37 miles long from the smallest to largest piece, and approximately 2.1 miles in width. There are two main clusters of meteorites distributed around the Iowa-Grant school, and the area near where the “Shed Hitter” was discoverd by a local landowner.
Dynamics of the Meteorite Finds & Meteorite Hunt
The meteorite hunt started near the “Shed Hitter” meteorite and continued outward from there logically expanding to surrounding properties for the first few days after the meteorite fall. It is this authors opinion that the reason there are two “clusters” of meteorites evidenced on the map isn’t only the effect of the fragmentation events in the video, but also the dynamics of the hunt itself and the publicity it generated in the media.
There was a media interview at the Iowa-Grant School a few days after the meteorite fall when a student found a meteorite practically on camera. Word got out quickly that a child had found a stone, at the school and meteorite hunters rushed to the school skipping much of the area between. Things happened fast after that and the areas between the school and where the Shed Hitter stone was found did not get hunted as hard during the following days and weeks. This is only my personal observation, and I could be wrong, but I’ll go with it…
It was tough hunting and nothing like the West, TX (Ash Creek) meteorite hunt. People complained “West” was hard to hunt. West was a cake walk compared to the Wisconsin meteorite hunt in the total hours hunted per meteorite found and miles walked to find them. It was grueling, painful and worth every aching and adventurous step. Meteorite Hunters went home with blisters on top of blisters. Most never found a stone in all their days of hunting. All of it was worth it though for the excitement of finding a fresh WI meteorite!
The Big Ones, Rumors & Misinformation
So where are the big ones? There were rumors circulating of a 2 kilo meteorite found by a local in the area. There are two reasons for this. I believe the first is because there was a local man traveling the area with a REAL meteorite, from a FRESH fall and it was a big one. My hunting partner and I caught up with this local at the Friendly Place in Livingston, and he stated the weight of the stone (which he did not want to sell) was just over 1 kilo. I personally held this stone, and took photos of it. It’s possible this is where the rumors of a “2 kilo” stone originated, but it’s hard to tell. You can imagine the buzz this guy generated around town to those who don’t know about meteorites, and those who would automatically associate this 1 kilo meteorite with the recent fireball.
It wasn’t… I asked the local man where he found it, of course he was not willing to reveal his find location. At first he claimed he found it near Rewey, then he changed his story and claimed it was from a fall in another state. It’s possible he was giving disinformation about the find location, and it’s also possible this meteorite was in fact from the WI fireball. We examined the stone, tested it with a magnet, and viewed it under 10X magnification with our loupe. It did not look like ANY of the tens of meteorites we saw, handled and examined from the WI meteorite strewnfield. This leads me to believe it was in fact NOT from the WI meteorite fall, and the start of the “2 kilo” stone mystery. There was also a short lived rumor about a “Bowling Ball” sized meteorite that was found. It turned out that this rumor started from people visiting the Pop Corn shop in Montfort. There were photos on display of a local man with what appeared to be a large stone. People were claiming this stone was also from this meteorite fall, but that myth was quickly dispelled when the fact came out it might be a meteorite found some decades before. An old find, not a fresh fall meteorite.
Also, if someone actually had a 2 kilo meteorite from this meteorite fall, we’d most likely be seeing photos of it all over the internet. There are most likely larger meteorites out there from this meteorite fall, but they probably have not been found yet. There is most probably a larger stone than the current Largest fragment of a meteorite, typically at the time of recovery. Meteorites are commonly cut, sliced or sometimes broken thus reducing the size of the main mass and the resulting largest specimen is called the "largest known mass". Click on Term to Read More of 332g. A local landowner may have found one already. But the point being that it’s only rumor until it’s proven to be true.
WI Meteorite Strewnfield Analysis & Observation – Distribution of Debris
After careful examination of all available data and spending 16 straight days in the strewnfield, walking more than 250 miles, finding more than 100 grams of meteorites myself, interviewing countless landowners and eyewitnesses, and compiling all data possible, I will give my opinion on the distribution of the meteorite material found in the WI meteorite strewnfield.
The distribution of the meteorite debris in the WI strewnfield, combined with radar and weather data, shows that there was a upper level winds which blew smaller pieces to the south of center-line. (Note: Center-Line is labeled “Flight Path” in the Key on the map)
The shallow entry angle of the Small rocky or metallic object in orbit around the Sun (or another star). calculated by Rob Matson and announced on the Meteorite-List supports the physical evidence on the ground. Meteorites are scattered, few and far between, in some cases miles apart between finds.
The large pieces are usually directly on or more north of the center-line, the lighter pieces got blown downwind, and from altitude had more time to fall, hence the ground distance covered by the debris in the fall time is about 1 mile off center. Larger pieces were found more northeast of the center shown on the map.
If you factor in the wind when considering the locations of the larger recovered finds, relative to the center-line, this suggests that even the larger recovered pieces were also effected by the wind and got blown further south. As would be natural. What the map doesn’t tell you is, and in this authors opinion, is that I believe the “actual” flight path to be further north east of the recovered finds, and not directly beneath the red center-line.
Larger pieces of debris will be less effected by upper level winds and travel much further. We know this. But the data also tells us that to find the larger meteorites, we’ll have to look not just further southeast of Mineral point, but also 1/2 to 1 mile north of the center line. The center- line is nothing more than an arbitrary line drawn in 2D space on the map. It only represents the center-line of the known strewnfield, and probably not the actual flight path of the meteoroid during atmospheric entry which could be plus or minus a few degrees in direction and trajectory. I’m not a mathematician so I’ll leave all the complicated physics and calculations to the experts.
There are more meteorites out there! Probably lots more. Meteorite hunters were only there for little more than a month. The search became fragmented and many places were left unsearched. People will continue to go back and hunt the WI strewnfield for a long time to come. There may even be larger stones found, and there is definitely a larger main mass out there somewhere just waiting to be found. The question is not if, but when it will be found.
The WI Meteorite Strewnfield Map – Download Larger JPG Map 7.97MB
Radar Overlay Map – Download Larger JPG Map 8.12MB
Here is one radar overlay for comparing find locations to actual Radar returns. Notice most returns are South and West of find locations.
Google Earth KMZ File of the Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield – Download KMZ
For those of you interested in the actual GE file, here it is. You will need Google Earth installed on your computer to view the KMZ file format. Click Here To Download Google Earth
Thanks & Appreciation
Thanks go out (in no certain order) to Mike Miller, Ruben Garcia, Mike Farmer, Rob Matson, Rob Wesel, Sonny Clary, Steve Arnold of Meteorite Men, Robert Woolard, Mark Hirsch, Vicky Olds, Greg Hupe, Michael Cottingham, Derek Bowers, Larry Atkins, Jim Baxter, Kieth & Dana Jenkerson, Shea Gorzelanczyk. If I missed someone PLEASE forgive me, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
Most of all I would like to thank all the kind and generous people of Livingston, WI, and surrounding towns which allowed all of us to hunt for “little black rocks” on their lands. To them all of us owe great thanks and appreciation. I’ve never met nicer people than in WI, even in the Pacific Northwest people aren’t as nice. They chatted with us, allowed us on their lands, invited us into their home and informed us of the history and folklore of the area. We learned much about the rich culture and history of the hard working people. I for one can say I’m truly thankful for their generosity. Thank you Wisconsin!
Special thanks go out to the folks at the “Friendly Place” on Hwy 80 in Livingston. An aptly named establishment, which became the hub of the area for the likes of us. Can’t forget the “squeaky cheese”! So yummy! Oh and to the folks at the “Popcorn Shop” in Montfort, I couldn’t eat another bite I stuffed myself with so much of your GREAT popcorn. So many flavors to choose from I had to get them all.
Finding A Meteorite:
The feeling of sheer shock and excitement when you look down and “see” a meteorite laying on the ground before you is indescribable. But I’ll try… Your heart jumps, you pause, seconds tick by and realize you’re holding your breath hoping it doesn’t disappear. After all you’ve been hunting for so long. You finally breathe, and warily kneel before your celestial prize, your mind focused intently, your heart racing, and your body rushing and filling with emotion and the primal instinct to snatch it up and hold it high in the air and scream at the top of your lungs “GOT ONE!” to your hunting partner, who’s probably to far away to hear you anyway. You regain your composure enough to calm yourself and reach for your camera, shoot an in-situ photo of your glorious meteorite and GPS the find location. You look up and realize your hunting partner is standing beside you, attracted most likely by your insanely crazy display of happiness. You share a few back pats, and the customary handshake, congratulations and then it’s off to find another. Possibly days, weeks, or months of hunting away.
Mifflin Meteorite Photos in Situ