Well, February has arrived again and that means it is time for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I enjoy my time there really a lot but usually leave reporting on it to others that contribute to Meteorite Times. I am going to do that again. But, this time of the year always seems to become a time of reflection for me. A time to think back about how this hobby has impacted my life so to speak.
I would never have guessed that one hike around Meteor Crater as a boy would have continued as a life time of fascination with all things meteorite related. Or that the first Canyon Diablo gotten that day would infect me with a desire for these fallen treasures from beyond our little world.
Two books and countless magazine and web articles later, I still find myself writing about meteorites with undiminished awe and excitement. And donít ever get me started on the crater. I have and can again talk a personís ear off.
Isnít it amazing that with all the stones that have been found there have not been many that are thought to be pieces from the same individual parent body. Each is unique and only the amount that falls in the one event will ever be what is available to us. Though many of course look very much the same they continue; as in the beginning to be catalogued individually. Each records in its structure its own history. Some are rather short stories. Some remain primitives little altered since creation. Others are complex journals of their existence. Impacts which shocked them, heatings and meltings, and quenchings are just some of the events we can read from their structure.
Some draw me to themselves because of the circumstances of their arrival. Whether, as a fall or a find the way they are recovered makes some more appealing. Others call to me because of the way they look. Still others have something purely scientific in their siren song.
Each issue in the Person of the Month article we ask about the individualís favorite meteorite. As I think of it now I would have some trouble answering that myself. I suppose a stone I have found would be the one with the best story. But, they are all ugly old chondrites that have seen better days. They have all laid long in the desert, and show it. Perhaps one of the petrologic type three stones with crisp colorful chondrules would be the most beautiful internally. One of my oriented Sikhote Alins might be the most aesthetically pleasing externally. I should give all this much more thought.
I expect that in the next few days at Tucson I will see a vast number of new and wonderful meteorites. It will as always be interesting to see the choices I make for the few I buy. I have bought huge stones some years and tiny stones others. Will it be the bargain I can not pass up? Or will it be a small specimen I need for a future article; some topic I have put off because I donít have the meteorite. There are so many factors beside just the cost that affect my decision. Of course in the end there is always the obstacle of price for many meteorites. But, as time passes in my life I find that I donít need to acquire expensive meteorites to be thrilled. I can be giddy with a low priced NWA. And often more surprised by what is inside when I cut them.
In the last few years the Tucson show has become a very social event, with gatherings where we put faces to the names on emails. I have to say that it has made the trip much more fun. It is only partly a working trip to buy stock and build the collection. Now it is an opportunity to make and renew friendships. With the negatives I could list about our computerized age. This is surely one of the great positives. That we meet so many new people from all over our world.
Itís Sunday night and I am about half packed. Two hard days of work before I leave for Arizona. I wonít sleep well the next two nights. I May be the worldís oldest kid. I hope for you who attend the show that it brings you the same pleasure. I hope for all of you a safe trip. For you who can not go that the reports here and elsewhere on the internet May challenge you to attend at least one time in the future.
Til next month when I will have pictures and a more regular type article.