[meteorite-list] Greensburg meteorite raffle in the news

From: Darren Garrison <cynapse_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 10:20:07 -0400
Message-ID: <k62l731m2ag7jhqth8moqechat58ujjq5g_at_4ax.com>


Outer space rocks to the rescue
$10,000 worth of meteorites will be part of a raffle for Greensburg recovery
The Kansas City Star
Before a tornado decimated Greensburg, Kan., last month, the south-central
Kansas town was known for two things ? the world?s largest hand-dug well and the
half-ton ?Space Wanderer? meteorite.

Meteorite hunters and enthusiasts weren?t surprised the Wanderer survived. They
knew it would take more than a tornado to destroy a 1,000-pound rock that had
endured a tortuous journey here from space.

They were more shaken by the news of what the tornado had done to the rest of
the town.

Now they?ve joined the effort to rebuild Greensburg. To raise money for relief
efforts they?re holding a raffle of ? what else? ? meteorites.

Winners will be announced at ? what else? ? a meteorite festival on July 7 in
neighboring Haviland, Kan.

?Greensburg is a historic meteorite town,? said raffle organizer Geoff Notkin.
?Now it?s time to help the people who made it all possible.?

The May 4 tornado wasn?t the first monster to roar out of the sky above what is
now Kiowa County.

About 10,000 years ago a meteor ? brighter than the sun and faster than a jet ?
thundered through the layers of Earth?s atmosphere over that part of Kansas.

The fireball exploded and rained space rocks over a 6-mile area. The fury
created the Brenham strewnfield ? ?strewn? as in space rock shattered and
blasted like gunshot into heaven only knows how many meteorites.

Some pieces as big as large-screen TVs plunged 7 feet deep into the soft blanket
of the plains. Smaller meteorites lay just below the surface, shallow enough to
be exhumed centuries later by farmers? plows.

During modern times the strewnfield became a mecca for meteorite hunters,
including the granddaddy of them all, Kansas-born Harvey H. Nininger. The former
Kansas science teacher scoured the strewnfield extensively and established the
world?s first meteorite museum in Arizona.

Interest in the strewnfield had largely died off over the past 50 years until an
Arkansas man named Steve Arnold came along in 2005. After two weeks of digging
in a farmer?s field near Greensburg, Arnold discovered ?the mother lode? of the
Brenham strewnfield ? a 1,430-pound meteorite now on display at Union Station.

It was a cosmic trifecta. The meteorite was bigger than any other found in the
strewnfield; it was of a scientifically desirable shape; and it was a pallasite,
a rare type of meteorite seldom found in the U.S.

The discovery fired up new interest in the strewnfield. An episode of the Travel
Channel?s ?Cash and Treasures? was filmed there last year.

Suddenly, Greensburg and the strewnfield were on the map again ? only to be
nearly wiped off it in May.

When Notkin, who lives in Tucson, Ariz., heard about the tornado on the day
after the storm, he thought, That?s my town.

?We don?t want to abandon Greensburg because it was flattened,? he said.
?Greensburg had real character ? lovely frontier-style buildings, the big water
tower, big trees. It just felt like a lovely, idyllic American town. I remarked
to Steve that as I walked to the hardware store I expected Norman Rockwell to
step out and do another painting.?

The British-born Notkin is meteorite-hunting partners with Steve Arnold and one
of the first people Arnold called when he found ?the big one.?

For days after the find, they dug up and dragged other meteorites out of that
wheat field and kept them on the floor of their room at Greensburg?s J-Hawk
Motel. They ate at the diner, bought supplies at the hardware store and
purchased sandwich fixings at the convenience store.The two have hunted
meteorites all over the world. But in the end, Arnold hit the scientific jackpot
in his own backyard. The 41-year-old was born in Wichita, about 100 miles east
of Greensburg.

Arnold has hunted the strewnfield off and on since, unearthing about 30
meteorites, ranging from 16-pounders to his back-breaking titan at Union

Because Arnold was spending so much time in the area, he bought a small house in
Greensburg to use as a base of operations. That?s where he was headed the day of
the tornado ? before his wife summoned him home to Arkansas.

?I kind of regret not being there,? said Arnold, who arrived in Greensburg two
days after the tornado to find part of his roof gone. ?It would have been nice
to help people. I got to know quite a few neighbors. The town has been extremely
good to me and very friendly.?

Within hours of the tornado news, worried meteorite fans around the world began
e-mailing each other. It didn?t take long for Arnold and Notkin to decide what
to do next.

Because the Greensburg tragedy hit especially close to home, meteorite devotees
have donated more than $10,000 worth of meteorites and meteorite-related
collectibles for the Greensburg raffle.

Arnold?s record find is not among them, however. He hasn?t decided what to do
with a rock that some have valued at $3 million, so it?s been traveling. When he
called Science City to see if it would like to host the meteorite for a while,
Executive Director Ray Shubinski didn?t hesitate. Perhaps it had something to do
with Shubinski?s love of meteorites, a passion he wears not on his sleeve but
around his neck in a meteorite pendant.

Now Shubinski gets to showcase ?The King of the Pallasites.? Pallasites make up
less than 1 percent of the meteorites discovered and are known for the olivine
crystals that stud their iron mass. A couple of pockets of the tiny green
gemstones shimmer on The King?s bumpy backside, which still wears Kiowa County

Standing next to the rock outside the planetarium at Union Station earlier this
week, Shubinski drew a group of kids and grown-ups closer to the rock. Like an
excited schoolboy, Shubinski announced: ?It came from outer space!?

Yep. Via Greensburg.
Received on Thu 21 Jun 2007 10:20:07 AM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb