Coyote Dry Lake
Fellow meteorite enthusiast Troy was returning home through the area and wanted to stop by Coyote Dry Lake for another round of meteorite hunting. I met up with him in Barstow and we drove out and joined with Roy and his son Cody, Roy's dad "Buddy", and Roy's friend Tom.
We started out in the northeast corner of the surface. There were no reported finds for the area and we thought our chances might be pretty good so we spread out and started looking. The first unusual thing I came across was a small mound of poorly graded pebbles that had collected together. I couldn't tell what brought them all here and piled them up, probably water, but why and how they were all almost identical in size is a mystery to me.
Gravity, wind, and water make interesting features out in the desert such as this arcing swoosh.
I spotted that tell-tale rusty brown color I am keyed into while looking for meteorites and walked over to investigate. It turned out to be nothing more than a very old can slowly disintegrating back into the earth.
This type of terrain is just what I am after. I could see (and feel underfoot) evidence of the deflating lake bed surface and the general hue of the rock background was pink so I knew a meteorite should stand out pretty well.
The wind patterns trapped in the gravels on the surface reminded me of what ocean waves do to sand near the shore.
A view from a small rise at the northeast corner looking back over Coyote. I love the desert.
I had reached the end of the playa, but there were some interesting features up a small wash ahead so I walked another 1/8th of a mile to check them out. Here's a pict as I am emerging from the wash with the features visible just ahead.
When I got up to these structures I thought they were large rises of layer upon layer upon layer of ancient lake bottom. I could tell this was not alluvial deposits because there were no rocks or pebbles or anything in the matrix; it's just layers of silt and sand. I learned that these are called "yardangs" and are formed by the wind depositing sand. They were pretty awesome.
I turned around and headed back toward the vehicles. I found some fresh coyote tracks and thought it was a good omen, being Coyote Dry Lake and all, so I followed them for several hundred feet until I lost track of them in a patch of brush. They did not lead me to any meteorites unfortunately.
Here's tracks of a different nature. These could be 6 months old, or 6 years, it's really tough to tell out here. Regardless, the surface they're on is just perfect for looking for meteorites.
With no one having any luck in the northeast we drove due south into the middle of the playa into another area where there were no reported finds. There were much fewer surface rocks here so that meant a change of hunting tactics as about every rock becomes a target worth walking toward.
Deflation in progress.
Someone went through a lot of trouble to setup row after row after row of small piles of rocks. Are these grid markers for past meteorite hunters, or motor cycle riders marking clear routes? Or maybe it's just some bored locals conducting an art project.
So where are all the meteorites?
It was a perfect day to be out, will cool temps and clear skies criss-crossed by jets all day long.
The 6 of us covered a lot of surface area and found where all the meteorites weren't.
By early afternoon we came to the consensus that there were no recorded finds at these previous spots because there was nothing there to be found! We decided to head right into the heart of the known finds to a spot crossed by a few known strewn fields and try our luck there. Could the previous teams that have hunted this lake bed not missed a single meteorite? It seems unlikely, but if there are any left we couldn't find where they were hiding.