[meteorite-list] Evansville Man's Hobby Is Definitely Out Of This World

From: Rhett Bourland <rbourlan_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:44:39 2004
Message-ID: <IOEBKAHMGFBDJMOFGDFNCEJGCFAA.rbourlan_at_evansville.net>

Just a few notes on this article being as I am the one witht the hobby that
is out of this world.
The first part of the article where he's just writing is pretty good and I
was very happy with. The second part was a Q&A session that I don't ever
remember taking part in. The columnist would take parts of what I said when
answering one question and threw it into other the reply to other questions.
Not only that but changed my wording around a bit in places which REALLY
made some of the stuff lose its meaning. I wasn't real happy about it. The
first question where my reply was about that there are 4 other people around
here that have smaller collections. He left out the words "that I've met"
and also later in that response "evidence of" Martian bacteria. Also, going
on other list members work I got the 100,000 meteorites fall. He left out
the words "a year." I'm not exactly sure where he got the number of 7,000
that have been ID'd. At one point he goes on about how I spent 200 (when I
said "almost 200") for one small piece of Mars (DaG476) and then makes it
sound like, even though I'm out of work right now, I'm still spending that
much on meteorites. No, since I've been out of work I've bought a piece of
Dhofar 7 for $20 and did a computer stuff for an Odessa indvidual. Another
part I mentioned that I had loaned my pieces to the local university in
response to one question and in another part I said that the teacher offered
to let me talk about my personal pieces but I declined in response to
another question. So how does that come out in the newspaper? "I took a
geology course at USI. The teacher admitted I knew more about meteorites
than she did so when that part of the subject came up, I got to be the
teacher. It was even better than going to the head of the class." This
woman has her master's in planetary science. She got it doing original
research on oxidation rates in various metamorphic grades of L and LL
chondrites while studying under Harry McSween. In fact, she was the one
that turned me onto his work. I do NOT know more about meteorites than she
does. She is easily the most knowledgeable person that I've ever met on the
Sorry if this post was rather long but I just wanted to clarify some things
in this article.
Rhett Bourland

-----Original Message-----
From: meteorite-list-admin_at_meteoritecentral.com
[mailto:meteorite-list-admin_at_meteoritecentral.com]On Behalf Of Ron
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 12:03 PM
To: Meteorite Mailing List
Subject: [meteorite-list] Evansville Man's Hobby Is Definitely Out Of
This World


Evansville man's hobby is definitely out of this world
(812) 464-7527 or gmathews_at_evansville.net
Evansville Courier & Press (Kentucky)
March 15, 2001

Rhett Bourland collects meteorites. He has pieces of the moon and Mars as
well as assorted comets and asteroids.

The 22-year-old Evansville man buys, sells and trades the things, mostly off
the Internet. He has never found one 'in the wild,' to use his words, but
it's not because he hasn't looked.

'Now that would really be a moment,' he says solemnly.

Bourland has only been at this about two years, but already has around 70
specimens. Many are quite small and are displayed individually in a locked

He paid $200 for a Mars meteorite that's about as big as a fingernail. Only
about 1 percent of meteorites are born there and that drives up the price.
He says a more sizable chunk of Mars could be worth more than $500,000.

He says meteorites are more than 4 billion years old, and that nickel and
iron make up about 20 percent of a typical stone.

Most meteorites are dark brown from their long journey through the white-hot
atmosphere. Some may be rust-colored, depending on how long they've been on
the ground. He says you can tell meteorites from ordinary rocks because of
their magnetic field and isotope makeup.

The expert - he's written on the subject for the Evansville Astronomical
Society - will take your questions.

Gee, Rhett, you sure have an unusual hobby.

Not really. There are probably four people in the Tri-State who have smaller
collections. Interest has really grown internationally since fossilized
bacteria was found in a Mars rock in the mid-1990s. Such a discovery opens
up the possibility of life on that planet, and that gets people's attention.

Have you ever been ripped off when buying a meteorite?

When they are so small, it does open up the possibility of deception. I lost
$40 on one transaction when the dealer wasn't legit. But over time you know
who to work with. I'm positive all of my meteorites are the real thing.

How many meteorites are out there?

Scientists estimate that 100,000 meteorites a quarter-pound and larger have
fallen on the Earth. Approximately 7,000 have been positively identified.

Each has a name, usually based on where it was found. Canyon Diablo, Gibeon,
Tagish Lake - whatever. I have 1 percent of the total known population in my
collection, and that's pretty cool.

You paid $200 for a sliver of a meteorite. You must have tons of money to
throw it around like that.

Not really. I'm an out-of-work computer tech with a wife and a 1-year-old
child. I don't care much about clothes or eating out. This is the only thing
I splurge on.

This buying and selling of meteorites - is it something you could make a
living at?

Definitely, but you'd have to be willing to travel to track down new finds.
For example, the Sahara Desert is a very popular place for meteorite
collectors. The nomads know there are crazy Americans who will pay fantastic
money for dark-colored rocks and they'll take you right to them. If I had
the money, that's where I'd go.

Gee, Rhett, you really know your stuff. How much schooling have you had?

I've got some college, but I didn't graduate. I took a geology course at
USI. The teacher admitted I knew more about meteorites than she did, so when
that part of the subject came up, I got to be the teacher. It was even
better than going to the head of the class.

Meteorite-list mailing list
Received on Fri 16 Mar 2001 02:17:27 PM PST

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb