This feature is devoted each month to one of the personalities within the meteorite community. This month we are delighted to share an interview we had with Dave Freeman.
What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?
I started collecting meteorites in 1998 as I was getting tired
of gold prospecting blindly and purchased a White's GM-3 detector. My dealer was
a gold prospector and I noted that I had heard that I could possibly find a
meteorite in the areas where the heavier minerals like gold concentrate in a
stream. My soon to be good friend quickly produces a four pound campo, a two
pound Odessa, and a two pound Canyon Diablo meteorite. I was left in awe to
learn private people could actually have meteorite collections. Too cool I
thought. I gave up diamond exploration and gold prospecting very shortly after
that day. I was 45 years old then. I still collect nephrite jade and petrified
wood but meteorites seem to be my children that always refresh me more than the
What was your first meteorite and do you still have it?
My first meteorite to start my collection was a 135 gram Canyon Diablo that I still have.
Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating... etc)?
My special area of interest is hunting meteorites, public education about meteorites (including promoting the IMCA organization that I am very proud of), and after almost five years, I have finally found my first meteorite. I found it on February 15th of this year, on my first trip back out hunting after the big Tucson show. I spent 45 minutes wandering around a spot that I had looked at as I drove buy for about 15 years. I might add here that if you seek meteorites, look in local spots you like, as you will be living there for a while searching at every free moment for more. As a second area of interest that keeps popping up is the love of sharing my knowledge of meteorites. I have put up displays at the local museums, and the local libraries. I will be giving my third public lecture at our local library in a few weeks. At the last lecture just before I left for Tucson, we had 70 people attend. That is a large crowd for a small town like Rock Springs. I have handed out over 1,500 informational fliers offering basic meteorite education, following in the steps of Mr. Nininger and Bob Haag.
Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?
I have no family here in Wyoming but my friends that I have
adopted as family here do get all excited about meteorites and warm to my
frequently amazing stories of my meteorite adventures.
Do you have any special approaches to collecting? (Type collection, only stones, only irons, only by aesthetics, etc. or any and all that you like.)
I have no special methods to the meteorite madness, first I buy many, then I buy larger (well those that I can afford), then I have selectively acquired a couple crumbs of rare ones...Tagish lake, DAG 400, Nakhla, Layfayette.
Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?
I have about 40 locations represented in my collection. I savor learning about meteorites and discovering how many common and local minerals mimic meteorites. My Lucite Hills meteorwrong was extremely interesting (see picture, iron pyrite encrusted oolites in a cretaceous oil shale matrix. I found a 140 pound rounded ball, what a meteorwrong!).
Is your collection displayed or kept in a
dry box or both?
Here in Wyoming, the humidity is low, averaging in the 20 to 30 percent most of the year, and in my home, the humidity is equal to that or lower. Last summer, our humidity was less than 10 percent most of the days all summer long. I smile greatly as my nantan does not weep. I have been amazed to see that my meteorites do not rust here. Our elevation is 6,400 feet and the oxygen is less here, Maybe that helps some too. Our annual precipitation is only 11 inches so it is dry even when it is wet.
In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?
My computer stores some meteorite pictures but I use my computer
mostly for meteorite communications, and visiting some web sites. Having a
simple digital camera has helped my meteorite and other rock studies. I used to
buy meteorites on line, but I have learned to acquire specimens at shows from
dealers that I know personally.
Do you ever hunt for meteorites?
I spend about one hundred hours a year specifically hunting
meteorites, and about double that searching for other rocks. I always keeping
meteorites in my mind, hoping never to pass up a meteorite either in the field
or while checking over old rock collections. I have a small rock business and
acquire old collections numerous times through out the year. I find that my
meteorite education has been really enhanced by my knowledge of minerals, and my
current hunting is tied directly to my knowledge of local geology
What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?
My most favorite meteorite is my 30 gram slice of Allende. I
love to tell the story of the CIA's and let my friends gently hold it as I
relate the age and discuss the way it formed in the early solar system. I have a
poster of the eagle nebula and point to it and continue to relate the connection
to our early solar system.
What meteorites are currently on your wish list?
My meteorite wish list is short...DF002 to accompany my first find, DF001 Hopefully, it will be named "Rock Springs" one day. Learning the time frame, and paths involved with the finding of a new meteorite is of interest to me now and things change often enough that there is no set procedure for classification, or naming as one May have thought.
Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?
My total rock collection consists of quite a large collection of
petrified wood from around the world, some rare specimens of wood and Wyoming
jade, but I do have some tektites, impactite specimens, and some very fine
meteorwrongs. You May have seen some of my meteorwrongs posted at numerous web
sites. Since I have moved on to actually finding a meteorite locally, I feel
that the extra time spent studying meteorwrongs has helped me truly understand
the real look of meteorites in the field. There are many many meteorwrongs
locally to confuse and tease the hunter.
Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)
I have three rock saws and I have cut a few smaller meteorites.
I could not cut my first meteorite and sent it out for classification allowing
the more experienced person to chop up my first child! As I get a larger
collection, I will be using the saw more on my own meteorites.
With the find of my first meteorite came a number of challenges. I have been working with the public land administrators locally for years on keeping the multi use policy in balance. As a petrified wood collector and collector of gold, and other collectibles, I have always felt that a positive and active attitude working with the BLM always pays off.
I have had an ongoing display of wood and jade specimens at the BLM office for a couple of years. In the past five years, I have met with a number of BLM rangers and administrators to discuss my meteorite hunting activities. The first day the local office was open after my new meteorite find, I met with the district manager, ranger, and others in the office. They were very pleased that I found a public land meteorite, and wished me luck in my classification process. I have offered to lecture those interested at the office, particularly the archaeology department on the subject of meteorites. I have felt great satisfaction in working with the public land managers on pioneering local meteorite hunting and being able to test my efforts by actually finding the first new meteorite in Wyoming to be sent out for classification in 56 years. I will be releasing the new find to the state newspapers and the most major TV station in the state very soon. I really enjoy the excitement the new find has generated in the meteorite community. My find is the 13th. meteorite to come out of Wyoming. I will have to say that the Karmic value bestowed upon me by my meteorite friends at the recent Tucson show can not be diminished. Luck, and hard work, and living meteorites had given me much personal reward. My meteorite friends are as great a personal reward as finding my first new meteorite.