An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine
by Jim Tobin


Busy Month of Meteorite Things

The Meteorite Exchange had one of its Tektite Parties a couple weeks ago. The theme was Sikhote Alin. So I brought for show-and-tell some of my oriented and torn apart SAs. I have always been interested in meteorites that have been damaged. I have quite a collection at this point of iron slices that have cracks or show pulled and twisted crystals. I have also gathered up a few individuals that have torn out crystals.

What is rather amazing is that if you lay a piece with a torn out crystal against a slice of
Sikhote Alin you can match the angles perfectly. I have attempted to show this in photos here.


We watched the old Russian documentary of the Sikhote
 Alin fall. It is a great piece of meteorite history. We want to thank Jeff and Sergey for their wonderful work in putting English captioning to the film. You can find information about the film at this URL.

Seeing the labor used to find and dig out the meteorites was amazing. I was really interested in the way they set up magnetometers over the craters to locate the correct spot to dig. Just remarkable how low tech it was compared to today. I knew the location of the fall was rather remote, but the film really brings to life the hardships of working the site in the 1950ís. Even today those I know who have been there have hiked miles through dense forest to reach the site. The film shows the signs placed there declaring it a National Park. As such in America it would be off limits to hunting for meteorites. I suspect it is there also, which makes most of the hunting done recently and in past decades, very suspect. Same as what occurs in other places all the time.

Every one brought something to show. We had a great presentation from Bob Verish on California meteorites and the process of solving pairing issues. In the past some of the early dry lake meteorites finds have had their histories muddle up. But, many of those problems have now been resolved through Bobís efforts.

Rob Matson brought along a lot of his meteorite finds. Always great to see what he has been doing.

A wonderful meal is served at these events and that was the case again. We played with space rocks late into the night and finally went home to happy meteorite dreams when we fell asleep.

We have not had these events as often lately as we once did. They are such a great fun time I would like to see us get back into a regular schedule.

The Meteorite Exchange has gotten another large chondrite to cut and sell. So I now have several to get down to work on. I have been a little lazy about doing my lapidary work for the business. But, I think it is time to get some done. Maybe I will order a new blade or two this next week; do some planning and start preparing slices soon. Could make some thin sections as well. Always nice to offer thin sections of meteorites right along with the regular slabs. I know some of the collectors like that.

Of course all that could get delayed a week if we get the chance to do some hunting in the desert. Very tentative plans for a hunt were suggested at the party. I know for me it has been way too long since I was out. It is time to find some more meteorites. It is also time for me to get a couple classified that were found a while back. I have been so bad about cutting off a piece of them and sending them to a lab. I think they will be the first stones I cut when I get back to the saw.

Iím always on the look out for Meteor Crater memorabilia and found some on ebay this last month. So I have to move stuff on the wall to make room for another old Meteor Crater china plate. I guess anyone reading this article for very long knows I have an real love for everything Meteor Crater.

I  have added a couple meteorites to my collection this month as well. One is a 2.7 kilogram L4 chondrite that is nicely shaped. I don't think I will do anything to it except display it and enjoy it. No cutting on this one. I also got a nice little slice of Muonionlusta. It is one of the prettest irons when etched I think.

All and all a nice month with a few extra meteorite events. I have given a few meteorites away to interested individuals this month. That is part of my long plan for promoting enthusiasm in meteorites. It is another way that the low prices of NWAs has been nice. I bought hundreds of small hand picked NWA869 individuals for giving away. It is always great to see the expression on the person's face when you hand them the stone.  Holding a rock from space is something we should really appreciate. Most of the general population just does not realize that such a thing is possible.


Scale of the Month

Since I had to dig out the large scale to weigh the 2.7 kilo stone I guess it will be the one I feature this month. It is an Ohaus. It is a little old but in good shape. It came with a full set of weights and can handle anything I am likely to have to weigh. It has been cleaned and adjusted, but could use some paint. I guess I will add that to my list of things to do when I have spare time.

Hope everyone has a joyful and safe holiday season. If you have not made your Tucson arrangements you better soon if you can still find places. It is only two months away now.