[meteorite-list] reports of gold and diamonds in meteorites 1850-1934

From: chris aubeck <caubeck_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon May 3 16:43:06 2004
Message-ID: <20040503204305.42873.qmail_at_web50810.mail.yahoo.com>

Dear list,

Here?s a batch of ?meteoric gold/diamonds? reports
from 1850 to 1934. It would be interesting to know
whether these are mainly or partly hoaxes. Can anyone
identify any real ones amongst them?

Finders credits go to Mr. Aubeck, Mr. Clark, Mr.
Brock, and to the other members of the Magonia
Exchange Project (whether any have been taken from, or
are repeated, anywhere else on the net I have not
checked, but is quite possible). Contribution of
material always more than welcome!


Best wishes,



1850 11 23 Scientific American, Vol. 6 No. 10
(November 23, 1850) p. 73

Gold in Aerolite

A very curious phenomenon took place in
the department of the Marne, in France. A
globe of fire appeared in the sky about 9 o?clock,
 P.M., and rolling with terrible rapidity, fell at
a short distance from a company of four agri-
culturists, who were returning to their farm.
The peasants went to the spot and found there
a glittering stone, which they picked up and
carried home. To their great wonder and
astonishment the stone was composed of a
large quantity of gold; and it is said that its
value amounts to 2,000 francs. This has
caused an immense sensation among the
corps of savants, and to us in America, it
appears more strange than true.


Minnesota pioneer sketches, from the personal
recollections and observations of a pioneer resident,
by Frank G. O'Brien (1843-1920) (Minneapolis, Minn.,
H.H.S. Rowell, 1904).


There are at present but few people in Minneapolis who
remember the gold excitement of 1857. There are not
many who even dream that this community once
experienced the throbbings of a gold-fever in its
veins;--that in fact a genuine three day's Klondike
excitement once raged here.


The most successful of the miners were, of course in
the secret, and did their best to keep up the
excitement by a liberal distribution of the specimens.
Several stage loads of prospectors came up from St.
Paul, among them a number of moneyed men who were
anxious to secure adjoining property; but the
valuation had increased to such an extent as to be
beyond the reach of the ordinary Western capitalist;
consequently, no sales were made.

The excitement was kept at fever heat for three days,
when it began to be noised about that this phenomenon
was undoubtedly the result of the bursting of a meteor
laden with gold, and that the scattered contents had
all been gathered; hence it was folly to continue
prospecting, as the geological conditions were not
flattering for successful operations. Fictitious
property values resumed their normal conditions, while
the wheels of industry, for the time neglected were
again set in motion.

1878 12 Manufacturer and Builder gold meteo"Meteoric
Gold from Heaven,", Vol. 10,
No. 12, (December 1878) p. 279

lished in Yuma, Cal., contains the following report:
"A remarkable specimen of meteoric iron, more like
steel, has been brought in here from the Mohave de-
sert. It weighs about a pound, and carries free gold,
of which nearly a dollar's worth appears on the sur-
face. It is not magnetic, and has successfully
simple and compound baths of acid. In this respect it
resembles specular iron, but in no other. One of its
surfaces shows a fracture that reveals a crystalline
structure, the color of which is a steel-gray, tinged
with yellow. It has defied the best cold-chisels in
blacksmith-shop, and has not broken or chipped under
heavy blows. If its composition can be imitated, it
will produce the hardest and toughest alloy known."


1890 02 02 Brooklyn Eagle, 1890-02-02

[No heading]

Two of a trade can never agree, they say, and
even scientific gentlemen are not above tricks
and jealousy. There is a scientist here in Brook-
lyn who has recently made a confession that I
found interesting. A few years ago a cable dis-
patch was published to the effect that diamonds
had been discovered in a meteor that had fallen
in Siberia and directly on hearing of it a New
York collector began negotiations for a piece of
that meteor, and at a cost of $70 secured a frag-
ment the size of a bean. He brought it in haste
to the Brooklyn scientist to have him cut micro-
scopic slides out of it and to test the residue for
carbon. The scientist does not love the collector
and here is his confession: "I made the micro-
scopic slides according to order and very quick
discovered that the stone was not a meteor at all.
The little points that had been described as dia-
monds were grains of olivine. However, I re-
solved to make a thorough test and I applied
acids to the stone, going through a series of ope-
rations that occupied me for several days. The
collector kept running in to see me and asking
if I had found any diamonds yet, and I grew tired
of it. At last, when I had fully established the
fact that there was not a particle of diamond in
the thing, I sprinkled a few grains fo sea sand in
the bottom of a saucer and when the collector
came around I told him that nothing had come
of my work but those grains. He rushed to
the window, fairly trembling in his eagerness,
clapped a strong glass on the particles and uttered
a whoop. 'Diamonds!' he cried. 'We've got it!'
and doing them up in a paper he rushed away
like a madman. Soon after I picked up a scien-
tific journal, and I stared, I can tell you, when I
read an article in it by the collector, describing
the diamonds he had found in the Siberia meteor.
He had measured them, it seems, and given their
faces and surface markings, and one of them--a
grain of ferruginous quartz--he told about as a
beautiful rose colored diamond. I've told so
many people about my practical joke on him that
he has probably heard of it before this."


1890 03 07 Manitoba Daily Free Press gold in meteo,

Gold Nuggets in a Meteoric Stone.

A meteor fell on the larger of the two
Comanche peaks recently. It came on
an incline of about 45 degs. and struck
the edge of the peak, where the bowlders [sic]
hung over the side of the mountain. It
came from the south. Its descent was
very bright and rapid, fairly illuminat-
ing the peak as it fell. It knocked off
large stones, which went rolling down
the mountain, followed by the celestial
visitor, barely missing Maj. Torre's house
at the foot of the mountain. The meteor
will weigh several tons. Fragments
brought in by those who went to see it
contains [sic] nuggets of what is believed to
be gold.--St. Louis Republic


1893 06 07 Brooklyn Eagle, 1893-06-07


NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 7--The scientific de-
partment of Yale university has just come into
possession of a big meteor. It fell from the
heavens last year in the Canon (sic) Diablo and was
purchased fro $1.250 by some friends of the late
Professor Loomis, the famous astronomer, who
intend to have it inscribed in his memory. Pro-
fessor Newton said to-day that examination of
the meteor disclosed the presence of specimens
of black and white diamonds. The other com-
ponents of the meteor are iron and nickel, with
nodules of graphite and trilolite. The meteor
weighs 635 pounds.


1913 06 26 Inyo Register (Bishop, CA)

Golden Meteor

Fred Williams, a farmer of McFarland, near
Bakersfield, brought to Fresno Friday, for the purpose
of having it assayed, a chunk from a meteor which he
says he discovered on his ranch at a depth of sixteen
feet while digging a well. The chunk has the
appearance of solid gold. Williams was unable to find
an assayer, but took the chunk to a number of local
jewelers, who prounced it crystalized gold. Williams
says the mass must weigh at least twenty tons. It is
only about an inch and a half thick.

Mint authorities say that gold has never been found in
meteors. About one-third of the chemical elements
known to our laboratories have been found in them, but
no new substances.


1934 01 25 Reno Gazette (Reno, Nevada)


DENVER, Jan. 25 - (AP) - Now they've "struck gold"
in the skies.

A meteorite which Harvey H. Nininger,
meteorologist of the Colorado Museum of Natural
History bought from a Melrose, N.M., farmer for a
dollar has been found to contain the precious yellow
metal, the scientist disclosed today.

"It's the first time," Nininger said, "that gold
has ever been found in a meteorite, although some iron
meteorites previously were discovered to contain

Ordinary a meteorite, which Nininger explained
could be called a fragment from a planet or asteroid
that has been in a collision, contains several of the
various silicate minerals. Never before, he said, has
one been found with any precious metal.

"It means nothing from the commerical viewpoint,"
the scientist went on, "but it is of considerable
interest to various branches of science.

"Its principal significance, perhaps is it
indication that meteorites have the same origin as the
earth and that what may be found in the earth may
reasonably be expected to exist at least in some

The specimen containing gold, Nininger said, was
analyzed for him by H. G. Hawley of Miami, Ariz., who
is associated with a copper company.

It was found to contain gold to the value of about
twelve dollars to the ton. Numerous Colorado gold
mines have produced "low grade" which averaged less,
it was pointed out.

The meteorite weighed about sixty-eight pounds,
Nininger said, and had hardly enough gold in it for a
dental filling.

"I got it from a farmer near Melrose, N. M., whose
name I can't recall just now," Nininger said. "He told
me he had been bumping against it every season when he
plowed and finally decided to dig it up and use it on
his hay rake.

"Then he read in a Clovis, N. M., paper that I
wanted specimens of meteorites and decided to bring it
to me."

Nininger said the farmer told him the "big rock"
had been in his field for years.

"As a result of the analysis of this specimen, we
will make more careful research studies in the future
to determine whether other meteorites contain precious
metal," Nininger said.

Nininger formerly was a member of the McPherson
College (Kansas) faculty and also studied at Pomona
College in California and at the University of
California. He came to the museum here four years


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Received on Mon 03 May 2004 04:43:05 PM PDT

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