An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine
by Jim Tobin

 

Ready For A Busy Year

Just hung this yearís calendar and began looking at when events are. I guess with Tucson coming up I should be thinking about making a list and checking it twice. Oh, wait a minute thatís Christmas and someone elseís job. I have been working with the meteorites I got last year, and have let Tucson this year kind of sneak up on me. I can think of a couple meteorites that I would like to find for my collection. But, it would be alright to just go and see what is there. Last, year by this time I had already contacted dealers to arrange for specimens to be brought for me to choose from. I knew with those specimens that if I did not there would not be any of the material at the show so I had to do that. This year well I think I will just play it by ear.

 

I have so much cutting to do that I really should not stock up much more until I get some slicing done. Pictured above is just one of the stones I need to slice up and prepare for sale. It is 3300 grams and is an L4. I have several others of various classifications to cut. Need to get going on that. But, with supplies dropping off of the NWA type stuff this might be a late good opportunity to find some more of that material. I have done pretty well over the last decade at acquiring NWAs. They have been such fun. The years have been exciting too. But, last year I only bought a handful of carefully selected NWAs at Tucson. Whereas, I bought many historic falls at the show last year from an actual want list. Maybe this year I can remember to print out the spreadsheet of my collection so I donít buy a lot of finds and falls I already have.

2006 was a great year. I had three pictures published or otherwise used. One for TV, one in a magazine, and one in a permanent museum display. New book on the crater is all but finished. It is at 98,000 words. I think I can babble on for another 2,000 and make it a nice round 100 k. Hope to have a real draft copy printed in a few days, so 2007 is going to see that project finished.

This will begin my 43rd year of meteorite collecting. Though to be honest there was about a decade at the beginning as a kid that I only had the one Canyon Diablo and the box of crater rocks I picked up. I remain as fascinated by Meteor Crater now as I was back then. Would like to make a trip there this year. But, the price of gas makes an 1100 mile trip something to give a little thought to. Unlike when I was a carefree 20 something with a VW bug and gas was 30-40 cents a gallon.

2007 is the hundredth anniversary of what may have been the busiest year at Meteor Crater for Standard Iron. After the initial drilling program of five holes, most of which hit meteorite obstructions. Barringer and Tilghman began a massive drilling program in 1907 in the eastern part of the crater floor. Sixteen holes were drilled in 1907 alone. Only four more will be drilled the following year. These would bring the total to 28 drill holes in the floor. No more would be drilled until after Barringerís death and then only a couple more into the floor in 1931-early 32. His work after this 1907-1908 period moves to drilling the south rim and digging outside of the crater. He is basically finished trying to drill inside and has failed at digging there also. He and Tilghman will both miss the significance of all the meteorite fragments struck by these tiny drills. They are looking only for the one ďGreat MeteorĒ and all these fragments are viewed as problems, not the evidence of what is really down there. 1907 marked a turning point for them as friends too I think. By 1910 Tilghman will leave the company upset mostly by all the drilling.

Have a lot of things on the honey-do list at the house this upcoming year. Have let those projects go. Promised my lovely wife to work on them this year. One project for myself is to get my scales onto shelves and off the floor. IĎm at about twenty scales now in my little collection after selling off four or five. Could sell a few others that are redundant. Probably will if I find any new types or styles that I have to have. But, the cute little 120 gram torsion balance ones, and the Mettlers just are hard to part with. Iím still using the H54AR for most weighing. It is limited to 160 grams like most of my Mettlers. But, it is accurate to .00001 gram, though I never record numbers to that extent. Iím always happy just to stop at milligrams. I got rid of all the Christian Becker scales. I could feel my hair growing as I waited for them to settle and give me a weight. They look really good on a shelf and work very well. They are the standard type for many applications. But, you can not walk or even hardly breath while using them. And they require very high precision weights for anything over a gram. Not too practical for me.

Hopefully, in 2007 I can get out and do some meteorite hunting. Got in only one day in 2006. Canít find meteorites that way. It is through dedication and diligence that the little treasures are found. Went to the local electronic swap meet last weekend and found another of the General Electric FM walkie-talkie units we use when hunting. They are really rugged units that run on 3 AA batteries. They are older but have good range, a page feature and long battery life. The new models that are so small use AAA batteries and run down very fast in real world use. And since I got the first two at the swap meet several years ago for five dollars and this last one for a buck. The price was certainly great as well. So now we are set up for a third hunting partner or with a spare radio. Just need to arrange time to go out searching.

 

I am excited about 2007. I think I will see some big changes in the meteorite world. Looking forward to seeing what is going to be for sell at Tucson. Going without a list and any expectations will be fun I think. Looking forward to seeing many of you there in only a month. Wow. Best wishes to all for a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year, Jim