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 Art Jones of Meteorite Central  

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

About 8 years ago I was a 32 year old retail buyer for the Reuben Fleet Science Center store in San Diego. Collector Bruce Wegman came into the Store one day and suggested that we start selling meteorites. I was excited and amazed that these small 'rocks' Bruce had were from space, so I immediately purchased several specimens to display and sell in my Store. Sales of the newly acquired items was steady, so I continued to offer meteorites through the Science Store for several years to come (also purchasing from Michael Blood and the Mineralogical Research Company).

Home, San Diego, California

What was your first meteorite?

The first meteorite I purchased myself was a small end-piece of Kendleton.

Do you still have it?

No, I sold this piece several years ago on ebay in order to buy my first GPS.

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

Not really (I have to admit, I'm not a hardcore collector). I started by attempting to buy just end-pieces and whole specimens (I love the fusion crust!), but then broadened my tastes to a bit of everything. Believe it or not, ordinary Chondrites are my favorite!

What do you currently do for a living?

I've been a technical architect (analyze and design large-scale Intranet/Extranet business applications) at an eBusiness integration company for the past 4 years.

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.)

In general I like everything, but as I mentioned, I really like ordinary Chondrites - but I must admit that Martian meteorites really hold an interest (they are just plain COOL!). I always try to keep my collection under 20 -25 pieces.

Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?

Currently my collection is quite small (less than 20 pieces) and represents about 15 different locations.

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

I display my interesting pieces (mars rocks and personal finds) in sealed cases in my living room, but my other collection pieces are kept in sample bags in my collection box.

In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?

My initial use of my PC for meteoritical purposes was creating the Meteorite Central website back in 1995. I was just beginning my own Web design company and needed to start a portfolio, so a website about meteorites was a perfect choice! The early Meteorite Central was very 'busy', sporting a bulletin board, weekly online chat, and classifieds section. After about a year of supporting these features I realized that I really didn't have the time to dedicate so I trimmed down the site's offerings and started the Meteorite Mailing List. In the first six months the List's membership grew to over 200, and I realized that this resource would last. - Also, I've recently created a Web-based meteorite trip/recovery/find database application that allows a team of hunters to post their trip plans, trip reports, and find reports, over the Web using document-level access control. The application has been designed to benefit small teams of researchers and will offer PDA support. Note: It's currently not available to the public, but May be soon!

Do you ever hunt for meteorites?

Living in San Diego, CA, I'm very close to many prime desert hunting areas. Every chance I get I load up the 4X4 and head to the desert, combing the landscape everywhere from the Anza Borrego desert in South Eastern California to the Mojave in California's high desert. In 3 years of hunting I've only located a single new find, but this has been enough to keep me going!

Hanging out on Roach Dry Lake in Nevada

What kind of GPS do you use?

I recently purchased a Garmin eTrex Vista and I love it. Its small, light, and feature-rich, providing everything I need to document my trips.

What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?

I must admit that my favorite meteorite is the only one that I've ever found! (and it was a new find!). --> Sheephole Valley, CA, an ordinary H4, but MY ordinary H4!. -- I still have the main mass of the find.

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

Of all meteorites, I would probably choose Imilac as my favorite. While I only own a very small piece, Pallasites are just plain COOL!

What makes these of special interest?

The shiny metal and green Olivine crystals make these types of meteorites look like the meteorites I imagined as a kid.

What meteorites are currently on your wish list?

I'd love to get a meteorite from the moon, but just have not had the chance so far.

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

I've acquired most of the samples in my small collection by bidding on auctions on eBay (from dealers I know).

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

Not really, but I do have a few non-meteoritic pieces in my collection that I've found myself over the years (spearheads, pottery shards, etc.).

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

I went through a cutting phase last year, but it passed and I sold my saw! Now, I just buyem already cut -- or whole!

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

Not really, other than keeping many specimens in Riker boxes. I don't really own any meteorites that really require very special care.

Any plans for the future of Meteorite Central services offered?

Yes, the main technology I'm re-investigating is real-time chat, I'd like to create a bi- weekly Chat room that really works! I'd also like to introduce my Web-based recovery management tool to interested researchers at some point in the next year.