Favorable Meteorite Hunting Areas

By · March 18, 2010 · Filed in Favorable Hunting Areas

When hunting for meteorites, there are some areas that are better than others. To make the best use of your time and increase your chances of making a find, you want to be sure to focus on areas that give you a better chance of finding a meteorite. The following information will help you know where to start your search and head you in the right direction for making a great discovery!

First, you want to look for an area designated as a strewnfield, which is an area where a number of meteorites have been recovered. You can locate strewnfields using various maps or other guides, with a number of them available online. Additionally, an excellent resource that you might want to read before exploring for meteorites is: Rocks from Space: Meteorites and Meteorite Hunters by O. Richard Norton. It includes a variety of information and maps that can help you decide upon a location to hunt, as well as prepare you for what to look for.

When you have identified a strewnfield that interests you, there are some other land features that you want to look for to make your hunting easier.  To help you determine the landforms in your area, Geology.com has a variety of detailed maps that can help at: http://geology.com/world/.  Another place for you to seek is your local conservation office. By reviewing topographical maps, you can look for more favorable exploration areas.

One kind of area you want to hunt in is one that has limited or no vegetation for you to have to contend with. Vegetation can get in the way of your hunting and you do not want to hack away any plant growth while you are hunting.

You also want to explore flat terrain, preferably with few black rocks. Flat terrain is easier to traverse, without having to tire yourself out from climbing up and down all day. In addition to being able to conserve your energy during the hunt, there is another reason for this. If the terrain is relatively flat, but you see an area that appears to be disturbed in some way, either with a hole or hills that you would not expect to see on the flat terrain, you might have possibly stumbled on a site containing a meteorite. The reason you want to choose areas with few black rocks is because meteorites are covered with fusion crust, which developed during their entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Fusion crust is black in color, so if you are hunting in an area littered with black rocks, then it will take longer to visually discriminate between Earth rocks and possible meteorites.

You may also want to stick to deserts when hunting for meteorites, since the weather conditions are drier, limiting the incidence of rust that can occur on meteorites containing metal. There are a number of deserts that you can explore in the southwest of the United States, making that region a good area for hunting meteorites. Deserts are also good hunting areas because there is usually a lower population in those areas. Hunting in places with more dense population limits your chances of making a find.

So, to summarize, here are the types of areas you will find to be more favorable for your next (or first) meteorite hunting trip:

  • Strewnfields (a greater chance of finding a meteorite since several may have been deposited in this area)
  • Flat terrain (easier to traverse and find disturbed areas)
  • Limited vegetation (easier to find possible meteorites, without plant-life to get in the way)
  • Small amount of black-colored rocks (which can be mistaken for meteorites)
  • Desert location (dry weather limits rust and lower population areas, such as deserts, increases your chances of finding a meteorite)

Here’s to the perfect hunt!