[meteorite-list] NPA 11-12-1922 Odessa Meteorite Found Near "Blowout"

From: Jerry A. Wallace <jwal2000_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri Oct 1 18:43:53 2004
Message-ID: <415DDD9A.1080803_at_swbell.net>

Hi Mark,

As usual, I have enjoyed all of your postings, but this one in
particular is
special to me, so I would like to avail myself of your offer for the pdf
of it.

I was born in Mexia, a small town of around 4,500 (at the time) in 1942.
Mexia is located about 34 miles SE of Waco (considered the eastern part
of central Texas.) I used to hang around the old newspaper office and
printing plant when I was a kid there. I have many fond memories of the

I moved with my family to Odessa in 1951, at the age of 9. Odessa is
about 350 miles west of Mexia. Odessa is at a much higher altitude than
Mexia and is within the northeastern boundary of the Chihuahuan Desert.
This area is considered semi arid.

I found my first piece of the Odessa meteorite at the crater in 1955,
thanks to a side trip made by a mentor of mine at the time. That was V.C
Wiggins, a former mayor of Odessa back in the '30s. He was a rockhound
of wide renown in the area and I was a Pebble Puppy member of the West
Texas Gems and Minerals Society. Mr. Wiggin's used to keep a Mason jar
filled with small fragments of the Odessa meteorite to give to school kids
who would drop by his rock shop. To be given one of the fragments was an
honor, but required that the kid(s) stand still for the 10 to 15 minute
on the history and geology of the crater. Mr. Wiggin's was danged proud of
that depression.

We basically were on our way to the Big Bend area of Texas for a day of
agate hunting, but Mr. Wiggins had promised to take me to the crater for
some time, so he decided to go ahead and do it on this trip. It was cold,
misting rain, a little foggy, and just breaking daylight when I got my
look at the crater. It was an almost mystical experience that I can
still recall
in the minutest detail.

It wasn't until many years later that I learned that I must have stepped in
many of the long ago, now time removed footprints of Nininger and Barringer.

The crater, back then, was just a very large pit at the end of a very rough
country road beside a fence line and then a short walk down a cow trail.
Many improvements have taken place over the years. The crater area
today is vastly improved over what it was just a decade ago. Now there
is a really nice, modern, brick, air conditioned Museum and Visitors Center
on the NE edge of the crater rim with paved paths through the crater,
complete with well written explanations on signs posted along the trails
about various aspects of the meteorite and the crater. The museum houses
a really good collection of "museum quality" meteorite specimens from
around the world. And, there's a few picnic tables and barbeque pits
under a very large awning at the crater in case you want to sizzle some
steaks, fajitas, or rattlesnake fillets (if you're lucky enough to catch
while you're there. You really don't even have to remember to bring
charcoal briquettes to the party. We have hundreds of thousands of square
miles around here that is only good for growing mesquite, which is totally
worthless except for being the very best barbequing wood in the world.

There is now an exit ramp off of Interstate 20 that leads directly to
the new
paved road to the crater and Visitors Center. A far cry from the first time
I went. In fact, Interstate highways were still decades away back then. The
road is now fenced on both sides to keep the cows and pumpjacks off of it.
There's still a couple of old cattle guards to thumpity-thumpity over,

But best of all- IT'S FREE! That's right, there's absolutely no charge,
that other notorious crater in the wilds of Arizona. However, there is a
jar on the counter in the Visitor's Center labeled "DONATIONS".

So, anyone finding themselves in the vicinity of this little bitty place
as West Texas, please make an effort to stop by the crater. It's (now) well
worth the effort and a thing the entire family can enjoy.

So, Mark, I guess you can see how coincidental this particular posting of
yours seems to me. The article being from a very small town newspaper-
rather than Dallas, Houston, Austin, or some other Texas city; and then
about something that would become important to me in my new hometown,

So if you would please, Mark, I would love to have a copy of the pdf scan
of the original story.

Many thanks,

Jerry Wallace
Odessa, Texas

PS... 1. Yes. I still have that piece of the Odessa Meteorite that I
kicked up
and picked up in 1955. I've never thrown anything away. I really should
in a very large warehouse. Shoot, I've still got all the banded agate I
back from that same trip in a nail keg somewhere.

2. No. I'm not a member of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. In fact, I'm
not even a big fan of west Texas.

3. And, if you bring the family, give me a call when you come through to see
the crater. I have a Mason jar with some Odessa fragments in it for the
if they can stand to listen to the 10 to 15 minute lecture that goes
with it. Yeah,
I still remember most of it.


> Paper: Mexia Evening News
> City: Mexia, Texas
> Date: November 12, 1922
> Page: 7
> AUSTIN, Nov. 14 - Among the recent additions in the collections of
> the Bureau of Economics Geology in the University of Texas is a
> polished slice of a meteorite found near Odessa and submitted by E. J.
> Wall, manager of the Odessa Commercial Club.
> The meteorite is new being described by Dr. George P. Merrill of
> the National Museum of Washington, D.C., who is one of the highest
> authorities on meteorites in America. In a description written to
> appear in the American Journal of Science, Dr. Merrill says that this
> fragment of an iron meteorite was brought to his attention by Dr. A.B.
> Bibbons, of Baltimore, who stated that it was found by a ranchman at
> the west side of a blowout about nine miles southwest of Odessa. He
> says that it was placed in his hands as a possible sample of iron ore.
> The fragment weighed 3120 grams and was said to be cut from a
> larger mass, the size of which was not given. Exteriorly, the sample
> was much weathered and oxidized, showing that it was no very recent
> fall. A slice of the iron freed from all crust and oxidization
> products was analyzed, and the analysis showed that the meteorite
> contained a little nickel, and some cobalt. In addition to this, the
> sample contained small quantities of copper, chromium, carbon,
> phospherous and sulphur.
> The specimen will be listed in the collections of the Bureau of
> Economic Geology. Up to this time approximately twenty meteorites
> have been found in the state of Texas. The largest of these was
> acquired by the Field Museum in Chicago. The Wichita County meteorite
> is the property of the University of Texas.
> (end)
> PDF copies available on all articles postcard today upon e-mail request.
> Mark Bostick
> www.meteoritearticles.com
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Received on Fri 01 Oct 2004 06:43:38 PM PDT

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