[meteorite-list] Hunting in West, Texas - thanks to Mike Farmer and his team!

From: Charley <cmb62_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 19:21:36 -0500
Message-ID: <B2175809FB334D6B9DA26B40F5A044C8_at_HAL>

Hi Jim,

Thanks for sharing! It sounds like it was a great time and I, like so many
other list members, wish I could have been there.

Thanks again and best regards,


"Well, squids don't work. Hey! Let's
  try elephants !"


> Message: 18
> Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 01:20:11 -0500 (EST)
> From: <jbaxter112 at pol.net>
> Subject: [meteorite-list] Hunting in West, Texas - thanks to Mike
> Farmer and his team!
> To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> Message-ID:
> <48596. at webmail.medscape.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Hi Folks,
> A few thoughts and a BIG thanks to Mike and his team regarding my
> first
> and only meteorite hunt this past Thursday.
> As I was reading on the list, early this past week, about everyone's
> adventures hunting in Texas I realized I had a day and a half off
> work at
> the end of the week. On a whim checked out Southwest's prices to
> Texas and
> saw to my surprise that I could get out there and back for about
> $200. It
> seemed like too great an opportunity to miss; a fresh U.S. fall! I was
> especially motivated by Mike's earlier observation that with ploughing
> imminent many of the stones not found in the near future will be gone
> forever. I e-mailed Mike Farmer and asked if I could join his team
> for a
> day to which he kindly responded, "I'd welcome that."
> I arrived at the search site around 8:45 just as Mike Cottingham's
> son,
> Christopher, found a gorgeous oriented complete stone. Good omen, I
> thought! I was so psyched I launched into hunting without changing
> out of
> my street shoes, to the amusement of the pro's.
> Mike took me under his wing and gave me a quick tutorial and off I
> went,
> eyes to the ground. I was getting a picture from Mike as we walked
> about
> how they had gone about their hunt in the past ten days. We were in
> flat
> open fields with lots of clumps of taller grass with more open areas
> in
> between with shorter grass. Surely many fine stones were hidden way
> beyond
> sight within the taller clumps- no way to find them at this point. The
> stones were there, though, some peeping through the shorter grass,
> some
> just sitting on the surface. I saw Mike Farmer, Greg Hupe, and
> McCartney
> Taylor find stones. The stones were, however, very widely dispersed.
> I'd
> say the ratio of pitch-black, roughly meteorite shaped 30 gram hunks
> of
> fresh animal dung to meteorites was about 1000 to one. The four finds
> I
> witnessed were hundreds of yards apart from each other. McCartney
> showed
> me how he grids an area adjacent to a find to try to systematically
> look
> for other pieces(many thanks, MT). I walked continuously except for a
> couple of 5 minute water breaks from about 8:45 am until sunset. I'm
> sure
> I walked at least 20 miles. Alas no stone for me!
> Mike was kind enough to stick with me and keep looking as the sun was
> setting. He was rewarded by finding a stone in the dying light( I
> think
> his third of the day). It was really disappointing not to find my own
> stone but it was an amazing experience nonetheless. I had talked to
> several 'pro's' who had had days with zero meteorites found so I knew
> up
> front that getting 'skunked' was a possibility. On the plus side, I
> got to
> meet Mike Cottingham and his son, Christopher, Eric Wichman and his
> wife,
> and Greg Hupe. McCartney and Robert Ward who I knew from Tucson were
> there
> in the field. At one point in the day, Mike, McCartney, Greg and I
> talked
> to the lady who owned the property and who was kind enough to give us
> permission to hunt there. She gave a great account of hearing a
> house-rattling explosion and going out to see a smoke cloud overhead
> with
> spirals extending from it. Overall a super educational experience.
> In the fading light I shook Mike's hand and thanked him for his
> generosity
> in letting me join them in the hunt for a day. I was sad not to have
> found
> one but felt the experience itself was well worth the effort and money
> spent. I would recommend it to anyone if there is a fall anywhere near
> you.
> I was shocked when Mike reached over and handed me a bag containing a
> 5.9
> gram gorgeous fully crusted meteorite he had found earlier and said,
> "Here, I can't let you leave here without a meteorite." I couldn't
> believe
> his generosity. As I told him in an email thanking him again, based on
> both the experience of hunting and the good heartedness of his gift,
> if
> bad times arrive and I have to sell off every other meteorite I own,
> that
> one will definitely stay with me.
> Best wishes to all,
> Jim Baxter
> p.s. I now really have a visceral understanding about pricing on these
> stones. In a strewnfield like this where they are small, well hidden,
> and
> widely dispersed a full days hard work may just yield a few grams and
> many
> days yield none. A realistic price would have to be at a minimum, to
> just
> break even, the cost of travel, lodging and vehicles divided by grams
> found. And here the denominator is small leading to a high price by
> most
> ordinary chondrite standards. If these guys were scooping up bushels
> of
> them the price would be quite low but that's sadly not the case. Too
> bad
> because the interior of this one has fabulous fine brecciation and,
> as I
> learned here, there is nothing to compare to the texture of the crust
> of a
> just-fallen meteorite.
> p.p.s I've posted a few images:
> Stones as found before being moved:
> http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v614/CaneySprings/?action=view&current=MikeFarmersstonefoundinthemorming.jpg
> http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v614/CaneySprings/?action=view&current=GregHupesstoneinsitu.jpg
> http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v614/CaneySprings/?action=view&current=MikeFarmersstonefoundnearsunset.jpg
> Mike Farmer photographing Greg Hupe's stone:
> http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v614/CaneySprings/?action=view&current=MikeFarmerphotographingGregHupessto.jpg
> and videos:
> Christopher Cottingham moments after finding a gorgeous oriented
> stone:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbOkrUhxv-w
> One of many meteorwrongs:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw8McUss7pc
> sunset near West Texas:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD1d6gpnang
Received on Mon 02 Mar 2009 07:21:36 PM PST

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