[meteorite-list] Hammer fall term (this poor poor horse)

From: Michael Gilmer <meteoritemike_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 15:09:56 -0400
Message-ID: <CAKBPJW_Mr_8zusVh=L+DYZUbyw56-p=-FYjxMNF4Yme_+13apw_at_mail.gmail.com>

Hi John and List,

Good question. Let me attempt to answer. If I fail, perhaps Capt.
Blood will chime in or another hammerhead will jump to the rescue.

All hammers are falls, because if a hammer falls and nobody is around
to notice it, it will never be discovered....and is therefore not a
hammer or a fall.

Let me put it this way - New Orleans is a recent example of an
unwitnessed hammer that is considered a fall. When the New Orleans
meteorite fell, penetrated the house and left a path of minor
destruction (writing desk, etc), nobody was home. The owners were out
and did not come home to find the cosmic damage until later. In this
particular case, nobody directly witnessed the fall or the damage
being done. If I recall correctly, there were no indirect witnesses
as well - no radar track, no fireball video, no other witnesses on the
ground. The find was determined to be a fall based on - the freshness
of the material found, the testimony of the homeowners, and the
obvious damage caused by this material.

Met Bull states that the New Orleans meteorite is a fall, so it is
therefore a "observed fall" or "witnessed fall" in officially-approved
nomenclature and accepted use amongst the majority of collectors and
dealers. Additionally, some hammerheads may refer to it as a "hammer
fall". Also of note, New Orleans is a single stone fall, therefore
the New Orleans meteorite is a "hammer stone" because it struck a
house and manmade objects.

Under different circumstances, the New Orleans meteorite may have gone
unnoticed and unreported. The lower 9th Ward of New Orleans is
desolate today, as a result of lingering damage from hurricane
Katrina. Large stretches of homes and businesses are vacant and
falling into disrepair. There are squatters, homeless persons, gang
elements, and other transients that reside in the area. The same is
true for other areas of New Orleans to varying degrees. If the stone
had fallen in one of these houses, with no first-hand witnesses, it is
likely to lay undiscovered and be carted off to the landfill when the
city finally bulldozes the property. In such a case, the fall and
damage were never noticed, it is never reported, no material is ever
recovered, and the meteorite is never officially recognized or named.

Also keep in mind, the criteria for officially approving a meteorite
as a "fall" has changed to some degree over the years. Or could say,
the criteria was more rigidly enforced in some publications than
others. There are several cases of witnessed falls where the witness
reports are several years or more removed from recovery of specimens
on the ground. Some fall dates have uncertain dates or just a date
range (summer of 18xx, etc). Some finds could be regarded as falls
and there is some debate or uncertainty around the circumstances (or
find location) that resulted in a fall classification being rejected.

So, what I am getting at in a rambling fashion is this - if it is a
hammer in the true and accepted sense, then it could be called a
"hammer fall" or "witnessed fall" or "observed fall" or just a "fall"
- depending on whether or not the term is being used officially or
just casually.

Best regards,


PS - I think this horse is now officially pulverized beyond
recognition. To continue this discussion line any further will
require someone to acquire a new horse for consideration and possible

Galactic Stone & Ironworks - MikeG
Web: http://www.galactic-stone.com
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On 6/14/12, John Hendry <pict at pict.co.uk> wrote:
> Any hammer finds recorded? i.e. there's a big stone in the attic and a hole
> in the roof, but nobody saw it fall.
> John
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Received on Thu 14 Jun 2012 03:09:56 PM PDT

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