An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine

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 Ruben Garcia.

Hunting A dry lake bed in winter!

Meteorite-Times (MT) What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?

Ruben Garcia (RG) Iíve been interested in meteorites for about as long as I can remember. However, I became truly obsessed in 1998 after seeing Bob Haag in a meteorite documentary on the Discovery Channel. I was very surprised to learn that with some knowledge and skill one could actually find a meteorite. I was so impressed with the documentary that the very next day I spent hours surfing the internet. I was searching for someone that could help answer the many questions that I had. In 1998 Jim Kriegh, Twink Monrad, and John Blennart were very well known for their Gold Basin discovery. So without much thought I called up Jim Kriegh and said ďHi, you donít know me, but how can I find a meteorite?Ē Jim was very kind, he told me everything I needed to know from where to hunt to what kind metal detector to use.

The two people that influenced me most!
Bob holding a 5 Kilo Glorieta Siderite that Mike Miller and I found.

(MT) What was your first meteorite?

(RG) My first meteorite was a Gold Basin meteorite that I found within about 15 minutes of arriving at the strewn field. I actually found two meteorites that first day. I only hunted for about 30 minutes before being run out of Gold Basin by ominous clouds and torrential rain. I remember calling Jim on the way home and thanking him for the instructions. He warned me not to be too elated as he doubted that such a novice could find two meteorites so quickly. I was pleasantly surprised a week later when I finally made it to Jims house and he confirmed that they were indeed meteorites.

(MT) Do you still have it?

(RG) Unfortunately, I donít have either of my first two meteorites. I donít remember if I sold them, gave them away, or lost them.

(MT) Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating.. etc)?

(RG) Iíve spent many days and nights hunting for meteorites and sleeping underneath the stars. However, Iíve spent just as much time learning and perfecting the art of cutting, etching and preserving iron meteorites. There was a time when I suspended my meteorite hunting so that I could devote more time to etching. I've even written a couple of "How To" articles describing the etching technique. In recent years Iíve recommitted myself to hunting meteorites exclusively.

Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?

(RG) My 13 year old son Ruben Jr. has hunted by my side ever since he was about 6 years old. Although completely enamoured with meteorite hunting he didnít find a meteorite on his own until (last year) 2006. Then, only a few months after he found his first meteorite, we stumbled across an incredible find. It was an area in California that was literally strewn with hundreds of meteorites. Ruben Jr. found (picked up) over a hundred meteorites in just a few hours. That day alone we picked up over 400 meteorite fragments and a few individuals!

Ruben Jr's first meteorite find!

Ruben Jr hunting

(MT) 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.)

(RG) My meteorite collection consists mainly of meteorites that Iíve found, which include pallasites, siderites, irons, and chondrites. Other meteorites that I have in my collection are meteorites that were personally given to me by various great meteorite hunters including Skip Wilson (Macy), Jim Kreigh (Gold Basin), and Bill Southern (Trilby Wash).

Me with collection in background.

(MT) Do you ever hunt for meteorites?

(RG) Iíve been hunting for meteorites for nearly 10 years and have found thousands. I really have been dedicated lately, as I try to get out 3 or 4 weekends a month! Meteorite hunting is without a doubt the very best part of this hobby. There is nothing like wandering out into the desert, communing with nature, and finding a meteorite all in the same day.

Me scouting an area with Becky Worley and the Crew of "Cash and Treasures"

(MT) What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?

(RG) Since my meteorite collection consists mainly of my personal finds and gifts from respected hunters, every meteorite in my cabinet is special.

Hunting a dry lake bed

(MT) What meteorites are currently on your wish list?

(RG) Any known meteorite that I havenít yet found is on my wish list. I would really like to find any achondrite, carbonaceous or other rare meteorite.

Some Recent Finds

Glorieta Slice

7.15 pound Franconia

New 783 gram California Find

Glorieta Pallasite Individual