Perhaps the youngest meteorite hunter out there, 4-year-old Lorraine Logan holds a 6.26 gram CM2 chondrite meteorite she found from the California fall. It was later purchased by Greg Hupe, who took this photograph.
I never tire of photos from the California meteorite hunt and thought you’d enjoy seeing more of them, too. Take a look at the happy faces of people who’ve found or bought meteorites that fell from the sky over Sutter’s Mill, Lotus Park and the Coloma area. The total take of cosmic booty as of May 2, 2012 isn’t much – about 28 stones weighing about 226 grams or half a pound.
On the down side, the price of the meteorites sold and considered for sale hovers around $1000 or more per gram. While this is a rare variety of meteorite, it’s not THAT rare. Lunar and Martian meteorites, which are rarer yet, typically sell for the same price.
The Bible of meteorite data, the Meteoritical Bulletin, lists 446 CM chondrite meteorites like the California fall and 258 planetary meteorites found on Earth that came from the moon and Mars. Some of the price inflation comes from hype (guess I’m a little to blame), some due to the small amount of material found thus far and some because of the notoriety of where it fell. After all, Sutter’s Mill was the site of the original California Gold Rush.
I want to thank all the hunters who’ve been so kind to share their images with me and in turn, with you.
A crushed 4 gram fragment of meteorite found in a parking lot - yes, a car had run over it - by Dr. Peter Jenniskens, SETI Institute principal investigator. The largest piece is about 1/2" across. Click photo to enlarge and appreciate this CM chondrite's fascinating texture. More of Peter's photos below. Credit: Dr. Peter Jenniskens
Robert Ward (left) and Ruben Garcia. The day after Ruben arrived in Coloma, Calif., a man approached him during a TV interview, asking if the rock he found was a meteorite. It was! He purchased the 8.5 gram stone on the spot. Credit: Richard Garcia
While snakes and poison oak have posed a few problems, the area in northern California where the meteorites dropped features some beautiful scenery. Credit: Richard Garcia
Most meteorite hunters are respectful of property and check with the landowner before walking on someone's land. Looks like we already know how this person feels.. Credit: Greg Hupe
One of the biggest meteorites recovered to date - a 17g stone found by Moni Waiblinger. From left: Dr. Peter Jenniskens, Moni Waiblinger, members of the De Haas family on whose property the meteorite was found and volunteer Lee Wadley. Credit: Dr. Peter Jenniskens
Closeup of Moni's 17g (abour 1/2 ounce) meteorite. The cube is 10mm on a side. Click photo to read Peter's excellent blog on the California fall. Credit: Dr. Peter Jenniskens