[meteorite-list] Bolivia Meteorite Adventure
From: Martin Goff <msgmeteorites_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 05:25:30 +0000
Fantastic story guys, glad to you both home safe and sound and managed to
get some goodies too :-)
Sent from my mobile phone
On 14 Dec 2016 05:13, "Michael Farmer via Meteorite-list" <
meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> It seems like yesterday! Oh wait, it was.
> My suitcases are still on the living room floor.
> Michael Farmer
> Sent from my iPad
> > On Dec 13, 2016, at 9:50 PM, Greg Hupe via Meteorite-list <
> meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> > Bolivia Meteorite Adventure
> > By Gregory M. Hupe
> > On November 20, 2016 a massive meteorite event took place over Aiquile,
> Bolivia at approximately 5:00 p.m. local time. While still daylight,
> Quechua Indian eyewitnesses saw ?corkscrew? smoke trails and heard
> ?whooshing? noises followed by sonic booms and then stones literally
> falling at their feet!
> > Michael Farmer and I went to Aiquile to hunt for meteorites and attempt
> to acquire stones from the inhabitants. Things didn?t quite work out that
> > Welcome to Aiquile Bolivia.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia1.jpg
> > Possibly the main mass, an approximately 35-kilogram impactor.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia2.jpg
> > Town Square in center of Aiquile.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia3.jpg
> > Charango guitar with caballero and bull sculpture in the town square.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia4.jpg
> > It would take us over two weeks after the fall to fly to Bolivia due to
> Mike?s yearly show commitment in Japan. Just 24 hours at home after
> returning from the show, Michael flew to Florida to meet me. On December
> 8th we began our journey to South America from Miami. Our travels would
> take us by air to Aiquile by way of La Paz and then on to Cochabamba and
> then by private hire to Aiquile. With no sleep for over 30 hours of travel
> from home to the dusty town near the strewnfield, we were exhausted but too
> excited to rest. We went right to work meeting with fellow meteorite
> hunter, Dario Ruiz, who had been there for two weeks. He introduced us to
> individuals about hunting for meteorites or buying some, but our hopes were
> quickly dampened by the news of the town?s government putting up road
> blocks to deny access to the strewnfield. It turns out that the officials
> were confiscating stones from the Quechua finders which put them in a panic
> and afraid to talk to outsiders. Things quickly became complicated.
> > Dario, Michael and Greg in Aiquile.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia5.jpg
> > View looking up the Aiquile strewnfield from the Quechua trail.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia6.jpg
> > Cactus are a common beauty in the strewnfield.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia7.jpg
> > We realized we were not going to be able to hunt for stones ourselves
> without the threat of arrest, or far worse, physical harm from protective
> villagers we were told may use force to stop outsiders from hunting.
> Knowing this, we immediately went to ?Plan B? and were granted secret
> meetings with owners of pieces from the fall. To our thrill and amazement,
> we were able to see several stones ranging from small broken fragments to
> large kilo-sized pieces. Throughout the 48-hours we were on site we were
> told of several large pieces included a 50-kilo ?Puzzle Stone? which we
> believe to be just rumor as is consistent with most falls.
> > Reflecting upon a fresh meteorite.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia8.jpg
> > 100-plus gram fragment.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia9.jpg
> > Same 100-gram fragment displaying ?Slickensides?.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia10.jpg
> > Interior indicating a shocked high metal H Chondrite.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia11.jpg
> > On our second day we had an early start with a scheduled meeting to see
> some stones, but being on ?Bolivia time? we sat for several hours waiting,
> waiting and waiting some more. To keep us from leaving and going to other
> contacts, our new friend entertained us with some guitar play dressed in
> his caballero ranch clothing made of javelina, lama and other durable
> animal skins. Aiquile is known as the ?Capitol of Charango? (guitar) where
> the guitar is manufactured. It was nice to enjoy this flavor of music high
> in the mountain village.
> > Local Quechua playing a Charango guitar.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia12.jpg
> > Video of the music of Bolivian friendship:
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Videos/AiquileBoliviaVideo1.mp4
> > Newly fallen meteorite with Charango guitar.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia13.jpg
> > Noon was soon upon us with nobody bearing stones for us to consider so
> we walked down the street for lunch and chose one of a few street vendors
> offering potatoes and sausage. We ventured to the local market and town
> square for a little tourism while we were there. The meal was very tasty
> and the sightseeing was nice but we were eager to get back to work.
> > Quechua offering an assortment of foods.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia14.jpg
> > Aiquile market stocked with fresh fruits.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia15.jpg
> > Coca leaves, a staple of high altitude living.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia16.jpg
> > Grandmother and granddaughter enjoying an afternoon in town square.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia17.jpg
> > Approaching our meeting place to see the stones we noticed two
> out-of-place characters on brand new mountain bikes looking our way and
> pointing a cell phone towards our direction and acting like tourists. We
> knew immediately they must be government officials with their shiny bikes,
> mirror sunglasses and new clothing. And we thought WE stood out in the
> crowd! Most Quechua don?t own bicycles in this town, and if they did they
> would be very old and worn out. Entering the hotel meeting place we were
> led to a wall where we were informed that a notice was hastily taped on the
> wall in the darkness of night. It was a new ?law?, or heavy suggestion as
> we surmised, that encouraged locals to hand over their finds and forbid
> hunting for the meteorite or the sale of them. This new ?Declaration 69?
> would be voted on in 60 days at which time it would either become official
> law or be struck down.
> > Young Quechua boy wearing chullo cap.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia18.jpg
> > Small Quechua girl shopping early at the market.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia19.jpg
> > Declaration 69 (Page 1).
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia20.jpg
> > Declaration 69 (Page 2).
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia21.jpg
> > Not wanting to tempt fate and be accused of stealing meteorites or be
> set up by the ?tourists? on the mountain bikes, we decided to cut our trip
> short and bug out early. We didn?t want to alert anyone of our revised
> plans so we made new appointments for later that day and the next morning.
> After making arrangements for an inconspicuous ?escape? we met with our
> driver who quickly loaded our small amount of luggage and he made his way
> through back alleys away from prying eyes. He stopped by an out of town
> gas station but did not pull in like normal but chose to park behind a
> large bush for concealment from the cameras at these locations. We would
> later learn that some cars are stolen from Chile and utilized in small
> villages in Bolivia without proper plates or registration after the right
> people are paid off. After filling the tank from a gas can we were easily
> permitted to travel an old Quechua trail. The trail was a handmade
> cobblestone road that threaded alongside treacherous mountains with
> hundreds of hairpin turns without guardrails and lined with 1000-foot
> drop-offs. Many memorial markers lined the path indicating where many
> souls met a terrifying death.
> > Handmade Quechua cobblestone road leading towards the mountain pass.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia22.jpg
> > ?Highway to Hell?.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia23.jpg
> > One of many destroyed vehicles along the Quechua trail.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia24.jpg
> > Video of our route on the ?Death Road?:
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Videos/AiquileBoliviaVideo2.mp4
> > After six hours of a white knuckle and frightening ride utilizing five
> different vehicles, either for evasion from possible followers meaning to
> do us harm or because of the ?stolen car? issue, we finally made it to
> safety in Cochabamba. During our travels on the ?Highway from Hell? as we
> called it, we received word of meteorites that were in Cochabamba that we
> could possibly acquire.
> > Three fragments of the Aiquile meteorite.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia27.jpg
> > Fresh 437-gram fragment displaying black fusion crust and impact
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia28.jpg
> > We arrived at the pre-determined location and were escorted to a dimly
> lit corridor in a downtown room without furniture. After much negotiation
> in Spanish between Michael and the owner, a few pieces were purchased. The
> large stone was not to be had as the owner wanted to what amounted to the
> cost of a large ranch. We left content with the few pieces we managed to
> get and took two different taxis to a hotel we booked online while in route
> to the meeting. We took no chances of being set up or followed. Risk of
> false imprisonment in South America is high so we had to constantly be on
> guard and switch plans on the spot. ?Head on a swivel? was the motto here.
> We managed to get a 2-hour power nap after changing our itinerary back to
> the U.S. before we had to be at the airport to fly to La Paz.
> > Michael standing next to fountain town square in Cochabamba.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia29.jpg
> > Greg in front of government building at town square.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia30.jpg
> > Upon checking into yet another spur-of-the-moment hotel, we had a few
> hours for some sightseeing around the neighborhood before getting some rest
> before yet another 3:00 a.m. wake up call to catch a flight.
> > Pedro Domingo Murillo Plaza in downtown La Paz.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia31.jpg
> > Christmas celebration at San Francisco Plaza.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia32.jpg
> > Quechua woman wearing traditional Bolo hat and attire adding color to
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia33.jpg
> > After departing La Paz, with a quick stop in Santa Cruz, we flew over
> the jungles of Brazil, Colombia and the northern Caribbean coast over
> Barranquilla. Next was a narrow of emerald-colored sea that led us over
> Jamaica and over central Cuba before delivering us to Miami.
> > Flying over the jungles of Colombia.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia34.jpg
> > Leaving South American airspace over Barranquilla, Colombia.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia35.jpg
> > The emerald Caribbean seas embrace the island nation of Jamaica.
> > http://www.naturesvault.net/Images/AiquileBolivia/AiquileBolivia36.jpg
> > While most of the meteorites recovered from this fall were confiscated
> by the municipal government, some of those will be put on public display in
> the local museum. This means that of the very few that were legally
> obtained before any overnight laws potentially go into effect, very little
> will be available to the collecting community. While we were prepared and
> had to bug out early due to a challenging and fluid situation, we overcame
> the difficulties and returned home safely. The Bolivia meteorite adventure
> was a quick thrill ride composed of; Excitement, Frustration,
> Disappointment, Danger, Reward and most importantly ? A trip we will not
> soon forget!
> > Best Regards,
> > Greg
> > ====================
> > Greg Hupe
> > The Hupe Collection
> > gmhupe at centurylink.net
> > www.NaturesVault.net (Online Catalog & Reference Site)
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> > ====================
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Received on Wed 14 Dec 2016 12:25:30 AM PST