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 Olaf Gabel. You may reach Olaf at

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

(OG) I got interested in astronomy in '86 at the age of 12 by the comet halley. A couple of years later I got my first meteorite, a small gibeon attached to the ticket of an astronomy show. Several other meteorites followed, mostly macro-mounts (~150 pieces). In 1999 i put my focus on impactites, tektites und crater related meteorites.

(MT) What was your first meteorite?

(OG) A small Gibeon 0.4 g. The first meteorite I bought was a ~40g Sikhote-Alin. My first tektite was a small australite core from nullabor plain area.

(MT) Do you still have it?

(OG) No, unfortunately the Gibeon got lost during a move in 2001, the Sikhote-Alin died on my first bandsaw. But the australite still exists together with ~50 others of this area.

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

(OG) I try to get at least a small sample of any reachable impact material. Many samples are replaced later by bigger and better samples.

(MT) Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?

(OG) Not really, but sometimes a nice melt or breccia gets a few seconds of attention. On holidays I try to visit some craters and my wife does a fantastic navigation job and enjoys the nature.

(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.)

(OG) I prefer high aesthetic materials, like large full slices or individuals.

Zhamanshinite (961g)

(MT) Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?

(OG) My collection represents 500+ different samples of 75+ proven or doubtful craters (~180kg)

(MT) Is your collection displayed or kept in a dry box or both?

(OG) Some pieces are on display, most stored in boxes and others are stored at a safe place not at home.

(MT) In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?

(OG) I use my computer several hours a day to keep in contact with other collectors and friends.

(MT). Do you ever hunt for meteorites?

(OG) No, I have not hunted for meteorites yet, but I hunt for German moldavites, without success. Impactites are much easier to obtain in the field.

(MT) What are your favorite samples in your collection?

(OG) My favorite samples are a small kaali meteorite (0.1g),a large zhamanshinite (961g) and a large australite core (94g)

Australite Core (94g)

(MT) What is your favorite overall if it is not the one above?

(OG) The real king of my collection is a flawless 29.9g wabar glass.

Wabar Glass (29.9g)

(MT) What makes these of special interest?

(OG) Because it is like no other material on earth and nearly impossible to get at this size.

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

(OG) A larger kaali meteorite, a georgiaite and an ivorite.

Kaali Meteorite (0.1g)

(MT) What methods have been most successful in building your collection? (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)

(OG) The most successful way is trading with other collectors or universities. Sometimes little luck at eBay or some heiress selling an old collection without knowing the material.

(MT) Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?

(OG) Yes, impactites are the main focus of my collection. I have also a small piece of native iron, from Disko Island, Greenland. It shows a nice meteorite-like structure after etching.

(MT) Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)

(OG) Yes, i have 3 saws up to 350mm blade, 2 grinding machines and a small lab for etching and preparation.

(MT) Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?

(OG) There is no need to protect the impactites and tektites. But the meteorites are stored in a dry-box.