[meteorite-list] HELP ! and, Who's still got their first meteorite?

From: Jerry A. Wallace <jwal2000_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 16:54:19 -0500
Message-ID: <45F47A8B.5030405_at_swbell.net>

Hi Kevin, List,

That brings to mind a fond memory.

It was in the late winter of '57 and the sun was barely beginning its
work day
in West Texas by starting to illuminate the landscape through the cold,
dismal, misty, low overcast morning. I was with my mineralogical mentor
on yet another trip to raid the agate beds at Marfa, Texas.

I was in the seventh grade at that time, so I was probably still about
13, and
an eager learner about anything mineralogical. My good friend, Mr. V. C.
Wiggins (a former mayor of Odessa in the '30's) had promised me for several
months that he would take me to the Odessa meteorite crater some day, and
this was the day.

Mr. Wiggins at that time had the one and only rock shop in Odessa and it
was conveniently located only a half block from the Junior High School I
attended. Needless to say, most of my brown bag lunches were eaten in his
shop. Then, too, he had to push me out the door in the evenings so he could
close and go home. He was a fine gentleman that I will always miss.

We bounced down the narrow fence line dirt road for miles in Mr. Wiggins
old '51 Buick until we finally arrived at what appeared to be a large muddy
hump in the otherwise flat landscape. He parked with his headlights aimed at
the geological anomaly and proudly exclaimed, "That's it!" I'm not sure
I was expecting, but I do recall being sorely disappointed in the sight.
just another example of reality rarely meeting expectations.

But what the heck, I was thrilled to be there. I took off at a dead run
up the
muddy slope, promptly slipped and found myself rolling back down the muddy
slope. I'm sure Mr. Wiggins was both amused and somewhat wary at the
thought of me getting back into his Buick as a mud blob. We worked that out
later with old newspapers from his trunk.

Once inside the floor of the crater, I was advised about more of the
history and given a mental picture of what I should be looking for. In the
excitement of finally being there, I had forgotten to bring my rock pick or
flashlight from the car. So I took off across the crater floor kicking
at muddy
lumps. All but one of those lumps turned out to be caliche. This one
piece that
wasn't caliche I took over to Mr.Wiggins for identification. It was
about seven
inches long by three inches wide with tapered ends. Turns out that it
was indeed
a part of the meteorite. A very rusty, crumbly part of the old
meteorite, but it was

I then moved to the southern side of the crater and began clawing away at it
with a broken branch of old mesquite. After sifting through the muck with my
cold fingers I found a small black piece of something that obviously
wasn't the
prevalent caliche. Another fast run over to the expert and I got the
good news
that this was a keeper. I turned to resume my muckraking for more keepers
but was cut short by the order to return to the Buick so we could get on
the business of the day which was to extract as much of that fine Marfa
as humanly possible and still get back to Odessa without the expense of
the night on the road somewhere.

As was typical of our agate hunting trips, despite our best intentions
of leaving
the hunting area earlier so as to get home earlier, we left well after
dark for the
three hour trip back to Odessa. We bounced along with a trunk and rear
full of the prized agate, and my two pieces of the Odessa meteorite. As
usual, the
headlights of the Buick were pointlessly pointed towards the stars. That
always made
our trips more exciting by only having a faint glow of light on the highway.

So, to keep this short (HA), yes, I still have my first pieces of the
fabulous Odessa
meteorite. Wouldn't trade them for Mr. Arnold's new Brenham. Well, maybe
shale piece.

The solid piece that I recovered weighed in at 2.1g. Never weighed the
rust. I surely
had one of the prized specimens that Prof. Ninninger and the earlier
hunters missed.

The crater is now a part of the Texas State Parks system and hunting at
the crater site
itself and the surrounding ranch land has been prohibited. Glad I was
there in the "good
old days." The crater has been turned into a very tourist friendly place
now and includes
an exceptionally fine visitor center with heating, air conditioning and
indoor plumbing, but
you still need to be cautious of the rattlesnakes and vicious
jackrabbits when in the crater
or thereabouts. There is now a modern paved road to the crater with only
one cattle guard
to bounce over. The visitor's center has a great collection of museum
quality specimens
of meteorites from around the world. Come take a look. You're guaranteed
to enjoy the
experience or your money back. Hurry while it's still free.

For a bit of the history, current information, and a look at the modern
day, cleaned up version
of the Odessa Crater please go to:







There are, of course, numerous other links to information concerning the
Odessa Crater
obtainable through as a Google search for Odessa Meteor(ite) Crater.

Best regards to all,

Jerry (Odessa, Texas)

PS... A great deal of credit for the preservation and upkeep of the
crater is due to
Mr. Tom Rodman, a local attorney. Somewhere on one of my cluttered
I have a copy of a very interesting interview with him concerning his
history with the
crater. When I find it I will publish it to the web and send a link to
the list.


Kevin Forbes wrote:
> I have attempted to log into my account at meteorite central in order to
> change my email settings to receive a daily digest instead of individual
> emails, as I am finding myself drowning in a flood into my inbox, along with
> all the other floods.
> When I click on your account, on the meteorite central page, nothing
> happens.
> ??
> Any help would be appreciated.
> Oh, bye the way, who still has the first meteorite they ever found?
> I do, a Henbury Iron found in December 1989. It looks like a ducks foot.
> Kevin, VK3UKF.
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Received on Sun 11 Mar 2007 05:54:19 PM PDT

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