Did you know…. That there are “rules” for meteorite hunting?

By · June 13, 2010 · Filed in Did You Know??? · 1 Comment »

Well, meteorite hunting rules are not written in stone… and they aren’t laws either, but there are some general guidelines of etiquette when hunting for meteorites. Normally we hear the word etiquette in regards to fine dining – telling us which fork to use when, how to hold your teacup (pinkys up of course), and how to thank the chef. Although we don’t have to search for meteorites with our pinkys held correctly, there are some rules that we need to remember before our next hunting adventure.

Get off my lawn you crazy kids. Have you ever heard that on TV or in real life? If you ever knew anyone who did not want anyone on their property, then I am sure you know how important it was to obey their wishes. The same rules holds true when meteorite hunting. You should NEVER hunt on land in which you do not have permission. If you want to hunt on private property, you have to have the proper permission from the owner.

Treat it like it’s yours.When hunting in the desert or on someone’s property, you should ALWAYS treat the area as if it were your own, like the Boy Scouts motto, leaving it like (or better than) you found it. You would not dig hundreds of holes on your property and toss litter everywhere! So, you should not do that when meteorite hunting either. The property owner will appreciate your thoughtfulness and be more willing to let you or other treasure hunters back in the future, and future hunters will as well – they want nice places to hunt for their own treasures, too.

Mark it and Shoot It!This is the most important rule of this blog!!! X marks the spot right? Sometimes, but in the case of meteorite hunting, it is not so much an X as it is having the exact coordinates of a meteorite when you find one. A GPS device is the best way for you to document the meteorite’s location, and it is important to photograph your find, using a reference object or ruler in the photo for sizing purposes.Try to get a picture with the meteorite and the GPS together before removing it. Coins work very well as reference objects when you do not have a ruler handy as coins are of standard sizes. However, if you find a meteorite that is quite large, it might work better to use something larger, like a water bottle, hat, or other larger object to show the scale of the meteorite when compared to the reference object. Now that we have documented our find, it is our duty to report our find to the scientific community, and provide a sample.

Why is it so important to report your find?One of the reasons it is legal to hunt meteorites is because we (Meteorite Hunters) said hey, we can be intelligent, and honest enough to record the data, and get it to the proper scientific community. You might have found something never before found that might be one of the most important finds ever! Remember, meteorites are one of the rarest things on Earth.

Click here to to find places near you to report and test your finds!!!

Places to report or test your find.

Did you know……. That anyone can hunt for meteorites?

By · May 28, 2010 · Filed in Did You Know???, That anyone can hunt for meteorites? · Comments Off on Did you know……. That anyone can hunt for meteorites?

Welcome to the “Did You Know” series! This is a series of posts that will help to answer your questions about meteorites, meteorite hunting, and even some things about space. I hope that you will join me and follow along with the series… and check back often to see which question I have answered next. I hope you enjoy today’s post.

That is the best part about collecting meteorites! It is not something reserved for scientists-only; anyone can do it. Many participate in the hobby every year for a reason – it is exciting, fascinating, and fun. Keep the ones you want and sell the rest, meteorites are worth more than gold! You just need a few basic pieces of gear and you are ready to start exploring. So, if you have not tried it, go ahead and give it a try, especially if you live close to a desert. They are often wonderful meteorite-hunting grounds.

Who knows? You might be the next person to find a lunar or Martian meteorite – or you might not – but the adventure of the hunt is plenty of fun as well. Not so sure about exploring on your own? That’s okay as there are a number of clubs and groups that go hunting together, which adds to the fun. So get out there, and have an unforgettable adventure and maybe find yourself an amazing treasure that you will cherish for years to come! Just remember that their is a meteorite hunters code of ethics about sharing the scientific data with the scientists. That I will share with you soon.

Coming in the next “Did You Know” post…… I will share with you… Meteorite Hunters Code of Ethics.

Here’s to the Perfect Hunt!

Did you know ………… That some meteorites come from the Moon and Mars?

By · May 3, 2010 · Filed in Did You Know???, That some meteorites come from the Moon and Mars? · Comments Off on Did you know ………… That some meteorites come from the Moon and Mars?

Welcome to the “Did You Know” series! This is a series of posts that will help to answer your questions about meteorites, meteorite hunting, and even some things about space. I hope that you will join me and follow along with the series… and check back often to see which question I have answered next. I hope you enjoy today’s post.

We have been long-fascinated with the Moon, since it is the closest heavenly body to Earth and we have been able to see it long before we ever visited it. Not long after astronauts began exploring in space, interest began to blossom about the planet Mars. There have been many movies about Martians and at least one television show, My Favorite Martian, which was a favorite comedy for the many episodes that aired. I can still envision “Uncle Martin’s” antennae popping out of his head, even though I have not seen an episode in over 20 years!

So, when I found out that some meteorites come from the moon (lunar meteorites) and Mars (Martian meteorites), that was a bit exciting to me. These meteorites are quite rare, with only 17 lunar and 16 Martian meteorite discoveries in all, out of over 20,000 meteorites that have been discovered (Space.com). And that these two types are worth the most of all. If you are fortunate to have one, especially a Martian one, then you have a wonderful treasure. Not only is it from Mars, but it connects you to many years of our world’s historical culture – allowing you to share in the fascinations of outer space from long ago!

Coming in the next “Did You Know” post…… I will share with you just exactly who can hunt for meteorites – you may be surprised by the answer!

Here’s to the Perfect Hunt!

Did you know that meteorites are older than the Earth?

By · April 9, 2010 · Filed in Age of Meteorites, Did You Know??? · Comments Off on Did you know that meteorites are older than the Earth?

Welcome to the “Did You Know” series! This is a series of posts that will help to answer your questions about meteorites, meteorite hunting, and even some things about space. I hope that you will join me and follow along with the series… and check back often to see which question I have answered next. I hope you enjoy today’s post.

There are not many things older than Earth, which is estimated to be approximately 4.54 billion years old (Wikipedia). It is easier for me to comprehend the magnitude of this number by writing it out with all of its digits – 4,540,000,000 years old. That’s pretty old, but the Sun is even older at 4.57 billion years or 4,570,000,000 years of age. That means that the Sun was formed about 30 million years before the Earth. Then, sometime between the formation of the sun and the Earth, meteoroids are estimated to have been forming and moving silently through space. Allot of  these meteoroids combined together and formed the Earth and the other planets. Estimates for the mass of material that falls to the Earth each year ranges from 37,000 to 78,000 tons. Most recent estimates are saying that some early meteoroids could have been about 4.567 billion years, or 4,567,000,000 years – 3 million years older than the Earth.

That is still an almost incomprehensible amount of time. So, if you ever have the chance to hold a meteorite (or better yet collect them), you can rest assured knowing that you have touched an amazing and historical piece of our galaxy. Although it might not be 4,567,000,000 years old, ( But probably close ) you still are holding something very old, very rare, and very much a part of our galaxy – something that has been to places that we as humans have not had the opportunity to visit. Amazing!!!

Coming in the next “Did You Know” post……… I will share some insight about meteorites from the moon and Mars.

Here’s to the Perfect Hunt!

Did You Know……YOU can own your OWN meteorite???

By · April 9, 2010 · Filed in Did You Know???, Owning Meteorites · 2 Comments »

Welcome to the “Did You Know” series! This is a series of posts that will help to answer your questions about meteorites, meteorite hunting, and even some things about space. I hope that you will join me and follow along with the series… and check back often to see which question I have answered next. I hope you enjoy today’s post.

Have you ever had a rock collection? If you have, you may have had fun adventures tracking down your rocks. Even if you did not have a collection, maybe you saw one sometime and were intrigued. Each rock in the collection is beautiful and interesting and each is different from all the rest… and it is perfectly legal to keep them. Meteorite collecting is very much like that, too, and it is just as legal to hunt for meteorites as it is to hunt for rocks – as meteorites are essentially rocks… but rocks from space. The only difference is that you will need to take down some data to report your find. It’s an awe inspiring sight to see a meteor blazing through the atmosphere. Now imagine hunting that meteorite down at the end of that shooting star’s journey through space as it falls to the Earth! You can have some amazing adventures while hunting for your own meteorites to collect or you may opt to purchase them instead. Either way, you will have a chance to enjoy and appreciate each meteorite in your collection, knowing that you have a priceless and unique piece that was once soaring through outer space, was partially burned as it entered Earth’s atmosphere, and is now in your hands! How breath-taking is that?!?!

Coming in the next “Did You Know” post…… I will share with you the age of meteorites – they are older than you might think!

Here’s to the Perfect Hunt!

Meteorite Terminology

By · March 5, 2010 · Filed in Meteorite Terminology · Comments Off on Meteorite Terminology

Ok, now that we know what a meteorite is and what it is basically made of lets get some terminology down. So here are some terms and definitions that you will need to know.

Terminology

  • Meteoroid – a space rock that has the potential to cross Earths path.
  • Meteor – a meteoroid as it passes through the Earths atmosphere.”Shooting Star”
  • Meteorite – a meteor that does not burn up in the atmosphere and falls to the Earth.
  • Meteorwrong – a terrestrial rock or man made junk that you mistake for a meteorite.
  •  Fusion Crust –  thin glassy coating on the outside of a meteorite caused by the atmosphere melting it.
  • Desert Varnish – a dark coating on exposed rocks due to the sun and elements over a long period of time.(sometimes mistaken for fusion crust)
  • Ablation – the process of  the outside meterial of a meteorite melting away as it travels through the Earths atmosphere.
  • Oriented Stone – a meteorite that did not tumble as it traveled through the atmosphere.
  • Regmaglypts or Thumb Print – are thumbprint like impressions on the outside of a meteorite caused by ablation
  • Hammer Stone – a meteorite that hits a man made object. Very rare.
  • Pallasites – are a type of stony-iron meteorite with beautiful olivine crystals.
  • Olivine Crystals – found in some stony-iron meteorites is usually named for its typically olive-green color.
  • Peridot – cut gem quality olivine crystals.
  • Terrestrial Rock – a rock that did not come from outer space and was formed here on earth.
  • Hemanite and Magnetite– magnetic terrestrial rocks commonly mistaken for meteorites.(meteorwrongs)
  • Strewnfield – when a large meteoroid enters the atmosphere it often fragments into many pieces before touching the ground due to thermal shock. This mid-air explosion causes the dispersion of the material over a large oval-shaped area.
  • Bolide – a very large meteor which is sometimes accompanied by loud sonic booms.
  • Fall – a meteorite which was witnessed to fall to Earth’s surface.
  • Find – a meteorite which has been found and has no record of being witnessed to fall to Earth’s surface.
  • Matrix – the embedding medium between chondrules, metallic iron grains etc.

Here’s to the perfect hunt!

What is a Meteorite?

By · February 28, 2010 · Filed in What is a Meteorite · Comments Off on What is a Meteorite?

Ok before a meteorite is ever called a meteorite it is an meteoroid out in the expanses of space in our solar system. When an meteoroid is on a course with with the Earth and enters the atmosphere, then it is called a meteor. So when you see what most people call a “shooting star” you are witnessing a meteor traveling through our atmosphere. Most meteors burn up in this process. The very few that don’t burn up in the atmosphere and fall to the Earth are then called meteorites.

Now for the types of meteorites and there composition:

Chondrites

Stony Meteorites are characterized by chondrules–small spheres (average diameter of 1 mm) of formerly melted minerals that have come together with other mineral matter to form a solid rock. Most scientist believe Chondrites to be among the oldest rocks in the solar system. 82% of meteorite falls are chondrites.

Achondrites

Stony Meteorites without chondrules. Most scientists believe that some of these meteorites originated on the surface of the Moon or Mars. 7.8% of meteorites are achondrites.

Irons

These meteorites are made of a crystalline iron-nickel alloy. Most scientists believe that they resemble the outer core of the Earth. 4.8% of meteorite falls are irons.

Stony Irons

These meteorites are mixtures of iron-nickel alloy and non-metallic mineral matter. Pallasites are a type of stony-iron meteorite with beautiful olivine crystals. Most scientists believe that they are like the material that would be found where the Earth’s core meets the mantle. 1.2% of meteorite falls are stony irons.
Here’s to the perfect hunt!