[meteorite-list] Oakley Idaho Meteorite in Smithsonian

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 15:57:21 -0500
Message-ID: <05ba01c76bfb$85f7ee90$ab7e4b44_at_ATARIENGINE>


    The first thing to do is to Google "Oakley Idaho
meteorite"! You'll find references to the many excellent
meteorite databases available on line.

    Here's a great picture of Oakley:

     Idaho's own Martin Horejsi says: "Oakley is one of the
best oriented iron meteorites on display in one of the
best collections on earth. The bat-wing form of Oakley
is undoubtedly from a stable flight into the sandy ground
of southern Idaho. The iron ablated away creating a
fluid taper at the trailing edge making me think this
lovely specimen glided into our atmosphere like a
bird on wing. I only wish Oakley was not bolted down.
I'm sure it could use a hug from someone who knows
its homeland well. Washington, DC is a big city, and
the Smithsonian can be a scary place for those of us
used to wide open spaces and quite afternoons in the sun."

    This makes it sound like Oakley is a lone landing, but
has anybody ever searched (with a metal detector) near
the spot where the first "bat-wing" landed? Maybe Oakley
was only one of a squadron of bat-winged aliens stranded
in Idaho!

    Says "Idaho's largest meteorite, the 260-pound Oakley iron, was found in
May 1926 by two teenage boys who were cutting cedar posts in the hills a
few miles east of Oakley. As the axe struck the iron the boys were startled
by a ringing sound. After the meteorite was displayed in Oakley, it was
purchased by the Smithsonian Institution for its collection of meteorites."

    Interesting. Was the iron embedded in a cedar? Were
they using the 260-pounder as a good spot to lay cedars
as they whacked at them? Another thing you can do is ask
locals if they remember where Oakley was found.

    As you can see, it was exhibited locally for a while
before packing its bags for Washington, D.C. Is there a
local newspaper that was being published in 1926? This:
lists the Oakley Eagle, the Oakley Herald, the Oakley News,
the Oakley Star, and the Oakley Sun! The timeline
suggests we want the Herald, which the State Historical
Society seems to have archived for that year. You
should read the meteorite's press clippings. I'll
bet there's lots of stories, with lots of details.

    Try to find the specific find location. Take a little
walkabout. Couldn't hurt. Since we're talking about a
large iron, that metal detector wouldn't hurt either.

    As heavy as Oakley was, it was likely one of the heaviest
of a multiple fall IF it was multiple. If it was found on the
WESTERN slope, I work my way east from there to see if
there's a strewnfield. Don't think it's likely, but might be worth
an afternoon or two. You ever win a lottery?

    How about an Idaho meteorite that has already been found
in seperate pieces? One of the best places to hunt meteorites
is in a strewnfield (Gold Basin, Franconia, Brenham)! How
about more big chunks of the Wilder, Idaho meteorite?

    "The first fragment of the Wilder meteorite was discovered
1982 by Alan Noe in an unplowed field about 5 km north of
Wilder, in southwestern Idaho. This initial find weighed 1970 g
(about 4.3 lbs.). In 1990 Mr. Noe found a second and much
larger piece of the same meteorite about 1.4 km north of the
site of the first discovery. This piece weighed 24.63 kg
(about 54 lbs.)..."

> I was thinking it might be fruitful to search those
> rock piles for more.

    The strategy of searching farmer-removed field stones
is a good one. Nininger found it a very profitable search
method on Kansas. In 1991, it yielded a meteorite in Illinois,
the Marengo L6. Says the NHM Catalogue:
    "One stone of 68g was found among rock piles on the
side of a cultivated farm field by James A. Wotal and his
son, Alex."

    One thing I (who has never found a meteorite) can say
for certain is that the VERY BEST way to find a meteorite is...
to look for one.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: Jeremiah J. Burton
To: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:17 PM
Subject: [meteorite-list] Oakley Idaho Meteorite in Smithsonian

I was in the Smithsonian a few weeks ago, looking at their collection. I
noticed a very large iron meteorite from Oakley Idaho, that was found in
1926. Does anyone know how I can find more details on it? Thats very close
to where my inlaws live. Its mostly farm land, and every field, has a large
pile of rocks thats been plowed up. I was thinking it might be fruitful to
serch those rock piles for more. What do you guys thinks?
jeremiah burton

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Received on Wed 21 Mar 2007 04:57:21 PM PDT

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