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

From: Norm Lehrman <nlehrman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 00:08:01 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <434659.70592.qm_at_web81001.mail.mud.yahoo.com>


A superb and exemplary contribution to the list! A
great story, informative, and exactly on-topic. The
links were a great touch. Thanks and well done.

I still have my first (central Nevada) find, and will
be keeping it till my last rock moves on. It likely
will be the last rock to go. (No small thing for a
career exploration geologist with thousands of
specimens!). Most of you have seen it, but for any
that haven't, the story, with photos, is on our
website at


I may be slow. It took over 30 years in the field
with a reasonably trained eye for the unusual before I
plucked number one from the ground with trembling
hands. Now, my best single day stands at 49 pieces (I
stopped at 50, but one flunked closer inspection-).


--- "Jerry A. Wallace" <jwal2000 at swbell.net> wrote:

> 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,
> gray,
> 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
> what
> I was expecting, but I do recall being sorely
> disappointed in the sight.
> That's
> 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
> crater's
> 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
> mine.
> 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
> with
> the business of the day which was to extract as much
> of that fine Marfa
> agate
> as humanly possible and still get back to Odessa
> without the expense of
> spending
> 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
> floorboard
> 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
> the
> 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:
> http://www.texasbob.com/travel/tbt_odscrt.html
> http://www.caver.net/odemetcr.html
> http://www.meteorman.org/info_4.htm
> 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
=== message truncated ===
Received on Mon 12 Mar 2007 03:08:01 AM PDT

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