Mike's Garage

Stewart Valley, CA/NV


I think this is the first expedition I've been on where everyone in the group found a meteorite.  Not just one even, everyone found at least two meteorites, you can't ask for more than that.  Nine of us spent the day out at Stewart Valley and we recovered about 40 meteorites.


A close cousin to its neighbor Death Valley, Stewart Valley has become one of my favorite places to look for meteorites.  Despite having outlined a hunt area in the days preceding, like a crazy person I always listen to the voices in my head.  That morning they first told me to climb a mountain, then they told me to go waaaaaaaaaaay to the other end of the valley were all the meteorites weren't.  After hiking back to the group I grabbed a quick lunch and then started griding an area.  I walked to one end of my grid and back, then started the next leg and stumbled across my first find of the day.  It was only 1.7g, but I was the last person to find one and I was going to be bummed if I was the only skunk for the day.  Turns out after I got home and cleaned it this fragment was showing fusion crust on the top still.


The rest of the group was moving to hunt another part of the playa (successfully!) but I elected to continue griding this area and see what else I could pull out of it.  After about 2 more hours of griding, just as the sun was setting, I hit a honey hole and found 7 more.  First I found a nice 7.6g stone that still had some fusion crust on it.  Finds with crust at Stewart Valley are way less common than the little weathered fragments, so I was stoked.


I buttoned everything up from documenting that find and like 20' away I found 6 more clustered around a dead bush (5 + scale cube are visible in the photo below), and they all had fusion crust on them.  It was probably the roots of this bush that brought them to the surface.


1.9g (fusion crust fragment)


3.0g (with a small bit of fusion crust on one end)


12.0g and 32.8g (both with fusion crust)


0.6g (fusion crusted fragment)


And another 0.6g (fusion crusted fragment).  By this time is was almost dark, as you can see in the photo.


Having found all those meteorites in close proximity I was sure they'd fit back together.  At dinner on the way home I was able to fit 4 of them together.  Since getting them home and cleaning them I was able to add one more.  There's still one from the clump I found around the bush that I'm not able to line up.


It's also possible/likely that April's largest find (in Chris's photo below) fits into this puzzle, or that is fits with my second find; they were all found in the same general vicinity and all display the same fusion crust.  We tried to fit it in at dinner with no luck, but I think I'd like to try again with them cleaned up. [Below: Coffee family meteorite finds, 11 January 2014.  Photo by Chris Coffee.]