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 Sonny Clary of NevadaMeteorites.com.
(MT) What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?
(SC) I became interested in meteorites at the age of 41. One day my coworker was watching the Discovery Channel. He said " Look at this guy he is flying around looking for meteorites and making big money. We should do that." The person Mark (my coworker) was referring to was Bob Haag. Little did I know how my interest would grow from watching this program. We looked on the computer about meteorites and came across a story about Gold Basin, Jim Kriegh, Twink Monrad and John Blennert. Mark and I planned a trip to Gold Basin and off we went. We hunted two full days. I found all kinds of rocks that looked like meteorites but only one really stood out. It was found on the last day while I was walking to my truck. I had given up and started to make a straight line with the detector in front of me rather than swinging it side to side. The only thing I was thinking about was a cold pop in the ice chest. All of a sudden the detector went off. History was made. I think! It was not until later that day that it was determined to be a meteorite by two guys in an old Toyota truck. They turned out to be famous meteorite hunters John Blennert and Ivan Koutyrev.
(MT) What was your first meteorite?
(SC) A 91 gram Gold Basin Meteorite.
(MT) Do you still have it?
(MT) Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating.. etc)?
(SC) I would say photographing meteorites and everything that goes with it. Such as in situ pictures of my finds, wildlife and outdoor scenery.
(MT) Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?
(SC) A little! My son and I hunt when we get a chance. Kyle has found a number of new Nevada meteorites. One of my favorites is a heart shaped meteorite. It was found at the end of a long day hunting. Believe it or not most of our finds have been at the end of the day. Kyle and I had given up hunting and were making our way back to the truck. I decided to play a joke on Kyle ( like every father likes to do). He had gotten off the ATV to look at a suspected meteorite. When he started to get ready to get back on the ATV I took off. Kyle began to chase the ATV on foot. After a few feet of chasing me he yelled " Dad, I found one". Sure enough he found a beautiful heart shaped chondrite that was with 2 fragments. Kyle has since paid me back a few times! However I have never found any meteorites while I was chasing the ATV!
(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.)
(SC) Most of my collection is personal finds or gifts from friends.
(MT) Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?
(SC) This is a tough question to answer. My personal finds not paired with other known finds from California, Nevada and Arizona around 40 locations. Many have provisional names and some are still waiting to be submitted. I also have meteorites representing around 30 locations from finds, gifts, and trades.
(MT) In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?
(SC) I use my computer as a tool for researching all aspects of meteorites and keeping current on meteorite news.
(MT) Do you ever hunt for meteorites?
(SC) Yes, I try to hunt as many days as possible from looking for new areas to existing strewn fields. My favorite is exploring for new areas and spending time outdoors.
(MT) What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?
(SC) Every meteorite represents a hunting adventure in itself. One of my favorites is a meteorite that I found with a grasshopper sitting on top of it. I always try to photograph a meteorite in situ. I was able to get a few photos of the grasshopper before he flew off.
(MT) What is your favorite overall if it is not the one above?
(SC) My favorite would be the R chondrite that I found in Nevada.
(MT) What makes these of special interest?
(SC) Not only was it the first R chondrite found in Nevada it was the first one found in the United States. Only 84 have been found throughout the World.
(MT) What meteorites are currently on your wish list?
(SC) You know your wish may not come true if you tell it to someone! I will give you a hint it is the same thing everyone else wishes to find in the United States.
(MT) What methods have been most successful in building your collection? (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)
(MT) Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?
(MT) Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)
(SC) Yes, I cut and polish most of my finds.
(MT) Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?
(SC) Living in Nevada makes it easy to care for meteorites. It would be nice to have a little moisture for the wooden cabinet!
(SC) All in all, what an opportunity to meet so many great people from around the world involved in meteorites. From the Scientists at the Universities to the collectors and hunters. Everyone has been a great help.