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 Twink Monrad.

Twink Monrad holding Golden Rule

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

Twink Monrad (TM) I became mildly interested in meteorites when our friend and neighbor Jim Kriegh discovered his first meteorite named Greaterville. When he subsequently discovered the strewn field at Gold Basin and I was invited to accompany him and John Blennert there to help map the field I became very interested in learning more about meteorites.

Golden Mile Slice

(MT) What was your first meteorite?

(TM) My first meteorite is a Gold Basin which I found and I still have it.

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

(TM) My area of interest is hunting for meteorites. With John Blennert and Jim Kreigh as my metal detector instructors at Gold Basin I eventually learned to be able to hear the difference between hot rocks and meteorites. They also had to teach me to be sure and locate the item making noise on my detector. While it would frequently be a meteorite, one also would find pieces of foil, small boot nails, tiny bb's, pieces of lead, bullets, fine wire, horse shoes and since it was Gold Basin there was the nice surprise of sometimes finding gold nuggets! I was very fortunate to have found two different meteorites in the Gold Basin strewn field which were classified at the U of A: Golden Rule and Golden Mile. I am very honored that O. Richard Norton put a photo of my Golden Rule in his book THE CAMBRIDGE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF METEORITES.

Golden Rule whole stone

(MT) What was your most interesting or humorous adventure while hunting at Gold Basin?

(TM) Well... how about the story about two "off the track" chefs: While John Blennert and I were working with Jim Kreigh to map the Gold Basin strewnfield, we were camped on property off of Gregg's Hideout Road, quite isolated with no one else in the area. It was dark out and I was getting ready to cook dinner for the three of us in the large RV, when someone began knocking on the door. It turned out to be two men from Switzerland, who told us that they were in Las Vegas for a chefs' convention and were trying to find Grand Canyon West, a tourist attraction not far from the Gold Basin area. They had become very lost, were almost out of gas, it was dark, our campsite was well over 100 miles from Vegas and they must have been really scared. John offered to drive his car and accompany them to into Dolan Springs, a town where they could buy gas and find their way back to the highway to Las Vegas. When John returned we were really happy to see him back safely after his adventure to help the Swiss chefs. I can only imagine the tale they told back home of becoming lost in a Joshua Tree Forest. I have often thought that I should have asked them to prepare our dinner before they left!

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

(TM) My family enjoys hearing about my meteorite hunting and seeing the results.

(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.)

(TM) I have whole meteorites and slices and small pieces, I like them all. I have meteorites from over one hundred locations.

Golden Mile whole stone

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

(TM) I enjoy the Meteorite List, Meteorite-Times, Rocks From Space Picture of the Day, and seeing various dealers' sites from time to time to see the beautiful photos.

(MT) What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?

(TM) Besides finding meteorites at Gold Basin, I have found some at Franconia and Holbrook. My favorite meteorite would have to be Golden Rule, which actually resembles a very large Holbrook. My goal is to find a very large Holbrook! I like the dark crust on these stone meteorites. I love the chrome colored Weaver Mountain in my collection. My collection also consists of many tektites, moldavites, impactites, Libyan desert glass and fulgurites.

Golden Rule cut stone

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

(TM) I have built my collection by trading, purchasing and receiving some as gifts. I have traded Gold Basins for gold from some dealers from Montreal, for fossil fish from Green River, Native American pendants from Santa Fe and the past couple of years have traded chocolate meteorite truffles for some nice NWAs. I have truly enjoyed meeting everyone through this meteorite hobby and always look forward to the Tucson Show. I grew up in Tucson and began attending the show when it started in my elementary school in the fifth grade around 1955 and still have the rose quartz pendant I bought at that show. I admit I did not pay attention to meteorites until Jim Kriegh began finding them.

A little Holbrook I found with a perfectly round hole in top,
as if a chondrule fell out, is one of my favorites. (photo by Anne Black)

(MT) Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.) And, have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?

(TM) I do not do any preparation. I did invest in a large glass and wood custom cabinet in which to store the collection and the halogen lights are left on all of the time to keep the environment dry.

(MT) During the Tucson Show at Michael Blood's auction there is the World Famous Gold Basin Cake which is enjoyed by all. This cake is donated by Larry and Twink Monrad, and Jim Kriegh for all of us to enjoy.  I'm sure that all of you who have enjoyed a slice would like to join us in saying Thank you! to Twink, Larry, and Jim!

Donated by Larry and Twink Monrad, and Jim Kriegh