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Count Deiro Finds 13.7 kg Stump Springs 083 Nevada Meteorite!

On March 3, 2010, veteran meteorite hunter Sonny Clary took Count Guido Roberto Deiro (the son of the famous a famous vaudeville star, 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 ordinary chondrite 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.

Enjoy…

13.7 kg Stone Meteorite Found by Count Guido Deiro
13.7 kg Stump Springs 083 Meteorite Found by Count Guido Deiro with Brix Alongside Him

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 detector. 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 meteor 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 organic 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 reduced visibility of the sun, 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 tend to have low metal. 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.

Brix Think's He Owns The Meteorite... Do you want to argue with him? ;)
Brix Guarding 13.7 kg Stump Springs 083

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 till 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 find.

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.

13.7 kg Stump Springs 083

Count Deiro
IMCA 3536…”

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. 

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