Hunting For Rare Glorieta Pallasite Meteorites

Hunting for Glorieta meteorites is about as much like a genuine treasure hunt as I’ve ever experienced. After all, a Glorieta pallasite meteorite is rare, valuable, and highly sought after. Hey, that sounds like treasure hunting to me! Even though I’ve been back to hunt for these olivine encrusted space rocks for many years, I never tire of it.

Taking a trip to Glorieta is somewhat like taking the kids to Disneyland. Even though you’re almost always guaranteed a good time, it is expensive and you’ll usually forget to bring something that you needed. This trip was no exception. It cost me about $250 in gas and food and I forgot to bring my back-up detector. Forgetting to bring a second metal detector could be a costly mistake. Luckily, on this trip I didn’t happen to need one.

I had to two main reasons for taking my latest trip to New Mexico. First, I really wanted to video tape an episode of “Ruben’s Hunting Grounds” in Glorieta. Second, I badly wanted to find virgin ground and bring home a few more Glorieta gems for my collection.

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The drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico is long and boring, about eight hours worth. I left on Friday afternoon and arrived at my camp site around midnight. I’m not sure why I was surprised to find out that I’d be camping out in the rain since it rained most of the way up, but I was.

Morning seemed to come too soon. I felt like I had just closed my eyes when I awoke drenched in a mixture of morning dew and daylight. However, I must have slept pretty well as I wasn’t feeling tired. Either that or I was just excited about once again hunting for Glorieta meteorites. I quickly secured camp and without breakfast I hurried to the spot where I was going to meet my brother Paul.

Paul had agreed to meet me for the weekend and shoot video of the entire hunt for my “Rubens Hunting Grounds” segment. In the past I’ve always worked the camera by myself, but I thought for Glorieta it would be nice to have a camera man. Hunting Glorieta is hard enough, and having to worry about camera angles can make it twice as hard. Believe me, the extra help was much appreciated.

At exactly 7 o’ clock my usually late brother arrived, and surprisingly he wasn’t late this time. He said that he was excited, and also that he had a good feeling about this trip. Paul had hunted Glorieta Mountain on several occasions previously but had not had much luck. In light of this fact I was somewhat shocked to hear such a positive attitude coming from him. In the end it was probably his positive attitude that helped make our trip so successful.


I knew that I could find a few meteorites in a weekend, but since we were filming this excursion I really wanted to find as many on camera as possible. To accomplish this I knew that we had to try to find parts of the strewn field that had been previously missed. Loaded down with, supplies, video equipment and metal detectors we set out to find virgin ground.

After hours of rigorous climbing up and down several mountain sides we took our first break. Neither I nor Paul could’ve guessed that we’d end up finding 12 meteorites total for the day since by 11 o’ clock we hadn’t found a single meteorite. Paul was busy filming my futile attempts at trying to find a meteorite when he decided to put down the camera and swing his own metal detector. Wouldn’t you just know it, he found the first meteorite!

I looked up from the bottom of a small hill to see a wide grin on Paul’s face as if to say, "That was easy!” Unfortunately, we would have another hour, and two more large hills behind us before the next meteorite would be found. I felt vindicated once I found it. Acting like the veteran meteorite hunter I nonchalantly said, “Ok, now we’re in the area.”

Poor Paul, since he had committed to filming our hunt he could only sit back and cringe as I started finding one meteorite after another. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the clouds that had only been threatening rain for most of the day began to let loose. Protected by my rain poncho I continued hunting. In an attempt to stay dry my brother Paul tucked himself underneath a small tree.


As soon as the rain let up Paul once again put down the video camera and joined me. By around 2 o’ clock the rain had forced us to stop hunting and seek shelter. I had found 8 meteorites and my brother had found 4.

Day two was sunny and so were our attitudes. We rose early but stayed in camp long enough to eat a breakfast of potatoes, eggs and bacon. Then, with renewed energy and optimism we once again set out to find a few meteorites. This time we didn’t even turn our metal detectors on until we had reached the spot where we were the day prior.

Within only seconds of turning on the video camera Paul once again had to watch as I started finding more meteorites. It seemed very surreal in a way, after all I’d never found so many meteorites in Glorieta so quickly. Once or twice while the camera rolled I found 3 or 4 meteorites within a 20 square foot area. Stranger still was the fact that wire, nails and other metallic trash were almost nonexistent.

Sure I’ve found much larger meteorites in Glorieta before, but I’ve never found more in a weekend. When all was said and done I had found a total of twenty meteorites, two arrowheads and various miscellaneous pieces of lead. As for my loyal brother Paul, he found seven meteorites for the weekend and he was ecstatic.

All in all it was one of the best meteorite hunting experiences that I’ve ever had in New Mexico. I found quite a few meteorites on camera and spent some quality time with my brother. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

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Good luck and happy hunting!

Ruben Garcia
Phoenix, Arizona