[meteorite-list] Arizona Meteorite Hunters - Part 2 of 2

From: Bernd Pauli HD <bernd.pauli_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:57 2004
Message-ID: <3B9D185A.C81A8253_at_lehrer1.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de>

Meteorite hunters scour Earth for space rocks (by Foster Klug,
Associated Press, Sept. 10, 2001)

Would-be collectors just have to be able to recognize them. About 800
baseball-sized or larger meteorites have fallen in Arizona alone in the
past 300 years, but only about 40 have been recovered, Kring said. He
said he finds one or two meteorites a year among the 600 rock samples
brought to his office by amateur rock hunters. Jim Kriegh, a retired UA
civil engineering professor, wasn't even looking for meteorites when he
made his big find. While hunting for gold in remote northwestern Arizona
in 1995, Kriegh stumbled across a field over which were strewn fragments
of a huge rock that dropped out of its orbit between Jupiter and Mars
about 15,000 years ago and exploded over the desert. Over two years,
Kriegh and his partners pulled more than 2,400 meteorite pieces from
what would become the Gold Basin Strewn Field. One of only two strewn
fields in Arizona, it's believed to be the oldest in the world
outside of Antarctica, said Kring. To date, more than 5,000 meteorite
pieces have been recovered in the area. "It evokes all sorts of
mysterious thoughts," said Kriegh's hunting partner, Twink Monrad.
"There were wooly mammoths and prehistoric lions and tigers and small
horses in the area, and it just makes you wonder what they saw when this
space rock exploded. It's amazing." Monrad was a homemaker before Kriegh
invited her to explore the strewn field. Now, she makes the seven-hour
trip from Tucson to Gold Basin a couple of times a month. In 1999, she
discovered a separate meteorite lying in the field, called the Golden
Rule Meteorite after a nearby mountain peak. She attributes her success
to persistence. "I firmly believe that if a person were to go over any
square mile, time after time, anywhere in the world, they'd also
eventually find meteorites," she said. This strategy, employed by
Monrad, Kriegh and others who now trek to Gold Basin, is the same method
favored by professionals like Haag. Haag said he makes his money by
simply being able to recognize the rocks better than his competitors. He
plucked his most valuable find, a rare moon rock, from a pile of
low-priced meteorites a collector was displaying at a gem show. But
while he often sells the gemlike meteorites he finds for hundreds of
dollars per gram, some are off-limits. A few years ago, Haag spent two
months in a desert on the Libyan-Egyptian border hunting for a rare
Howardite stone meteorite. One night, he said, he dreamed he saw the
meteorite streaking through the sky and then bursting into five fiery
pieces. Two days later, he found five Howardite pieces lying neatly in
the sand. "This wasn't something to be bought or sold," he said. "This
was something sent from heaven just for me." (Copyright 2000, The
Arizona Republic. All rights reserved.)
Received on Mon 10 Sep 2001 03:45:30 PM PDT

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