[meteorite-list] Murphy's law
From: Donald Blakeslee <blakesle_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:41:56 2004
I'm still working on the Texas meteorite shrines, and I need a little help
from someone with access to the new Catalogue of Meteorites.
When I last sent a pot, I thought I had the Texas meteorite shrines all
figured out. Since then, I have encountered Blakeslee's corollary to
Murphy's Law, to wit: When doing research, the more you dig, the deeper
the hole you'll find yourselrf in.
The problems arise from the fact that there are two early sources for the
locations of iron meteorites in Texas. One is the Indian trader, Anthony
Glass, who visited the Red River meteorite in 1808. His informants told
him about two others, located approximately 30 and 50 miles away.
The other is Athanase de Mezieres (last name is littered with accent marks
that usually mess up an email message). He visited a Wichita Indian
village on the Brazos River in 1772 and described what sounds like an iron
meteorite 20 leagues north of the village.
As early as 1914, the latter account was identified with the Wichita County
meteorite, and 20 leagues north of the village places one at the southern
edge of Wichita County.
Here comes the problem. My new information on the Wichita County meteorite
says it was moved to that location early in the 19th century from the east
end of Santa Anna mountain, a hundred miles or so to the south. This
report is likely to be correct because the Ballinger meteorite, thought by
Buchwald to be a transported piece of Wichita County, came from within 25
miles of Santa Anna mountain. Thus it would seem that Wichita County is
the transport, and Ballinger and Wichita County are paired
Santa Anna mountain is about 50 miles from where I have Glass visiting the
Red River meteorite, so it is likely that the as-yet-untransported Wichita
County is one of the two other shrines that he mentions. The problem is,
that Glass was there in 1808, and if the 1772 report is about Wichita
County, it had already been transported -- by some of the very Indians that
Glass was talking to (Comanches).
So, there had to be a fourth iron meteorite known to the Indians, either in
the vicinity of Wichita County or (if the Wichita County meteorite had
already been transported) at about 50 miles distance from the Red River
Taking the latter possibility first, my 1985 Catalogue lists only the
Holliday meteorite as in the vicinity of Wichita County. Unfortunately,
the longitude and latitude do not agree with the place name. Since there
are other twons closer to the reported longitude and latitude that
Holliday, I asume that the logitude and latitude are in error. Does the
later catalog have a correction? And does it correct the reported weight.
My catalogue has the total weight as 10 grams (!) with a 12 gram piece in
If Holliday is not the specimen reported in 1772, which was reported to be
thick and heavy (not 10-12 grams), then there may be another substantial
iron meteorite in north Texas.
Alternatively, the estimate of the date that the Wichita County specimen
was transported could be in error, so I re-checked all of the iron
meteorites in the general vicinity of the Red River site and came up with
meteorite distance weight circumstances
Burkett 33 8.4 kg found 1913; no other info
Comanche 32 19.7 kg likely site
Carlton 62 81.4 kg plowed up
Ballinger 65 1.25 kg no info available
Fuzzy Creek 75 2.6 kg no info reported
Squaw Creek 75 none given no info reported
You can see what I missed the first time through. There are two candidates
for the meteorite shrine about 30 miles from the Red River site -- Burkett
and Comanche. None of the more distant meteorites is a good fit with the
distance estimate of 50 miles, but there are four within 75 miles. Of
those, the longitude and latitude given from Squaw Creek do not match even
the county of record, much less the place name. Does anyone have more
information/corrections for Fuzzy Creek or Squaw Creek?
Many thanks for any help you can render.
Department of Anthropology
Wichita State University
Received on Fri 05 Jan 2001 04:36:16 PM PST