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Book Review: Dark Flight – The Hunt For The Tucson Ring Meteorite

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Mysteries. Many people love a good mystery, in fact, some people are obsessed with a good mystery story. Within the world of meteorites there are a few great unknowns and near the top of the list would be where the Tucson Ring Meteorites were actually found. “Dark Flight” is a new book by Katherine B. Rambo that goes into this mystery by telling the history of the two masses of iron meteorite that are called the Tucson Ring and the theories surrounding where they may have originally fallen.

Somewhere in the vast area surrounding the present-day city of Tucson, there is a spot or strewnfield which may contain more pieces of iron meteorite. One of the two masses referred to in “Dark Flight” as the “Irwin” is 1400 lbs in weight and the shape of a ring. Its shape provided the name for the entire fall which currently only has one other specimen the 633 lbs “Carleton.” Both of these masses are named after the men who “appropriated” them from their owners who used them as anvils. Both masses were sent away from Tucson to museums. The when and how of the finding and transporting of the masses to the old pueblo of Tucson is shrouded in oral history, bits from written records, and maps with ancient place names no longer in use. Most likely the meteorites were found in or near one of the mountain ranges to the east of Tucson. Who found the meteorites and when they were found are topics just as uncertain as the where they were found.

Katherine takes the reader on a journey through the family stories, documents, and maps. Being a mystery from long ago means that she can not offer a real answer to the who, where, and when. She can only present the mass of information which is often contradictory and offer some explanation and perspective. As she states on the back cover teaser of the book “there is no “Ah-ha!” moment” where a location is revealed. The theories are numerous and she works through the strongest. The hunt has been long, the use of the land extensive. Many of the possible locations have been repeatedly hunted. It is now the job of meteorite hunters to take another look at the dim, confusing history and past of the meteorites and the Tucson region to see if they can glean clues missed before. “Dark Flight” is a book that offers information about the last 300 years of the history and the owners of the Tucson Ring Meteorite masses. It should be read by any hunter before he ventures off to pursue finding more pieces of this famous meteorite. It appears to this reader that numerous less hunted areas may exist. But there is the problem hunting for any meteorite. The real area when you stand there is staggering compared to what you think looking at a map at home. “Dark Flight” may be another source of information to reduce the hunting area for the diligent researcher.

“Dark Flight” is available on Amazon as a paperback for $13.50 or as a Kindle ebook. I have written several myself and understand the problems of getting a perfect manuscript. There are a few missing letters and some inconsistencies in capitalization but these should not discourage anyone interested in the subject matter from purchasing the book. It is a good read and has good information for the history and mystery lover, but especially for the meteorite enthusiast. I do wish a couple of the maps were bigger so that their details could be seen better, but this is not possible in a 6 inch by 9-inch book format. The book is well illustrated overall and many of the images are in color. Color is also used to highlight material of interest in the maps and documents.

I am not planning a trip to go hunt for more masses of the Tucson Ring, but I may take the time to read Katherine’s book again and learn even more.

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