Mike's Garage

Yelland Dry Lake

I'd been trying to make the long haul out to the middle of White Pine County, Nevada from southern California ever since the Dry Lake episode of Meteorite Men aired in 2010.  Thousands of meteorite fragments have been recovered from this location since then.   I hoped and dreamed of finding piles and piles of them as many folk have, but I knew that I would be much more likely to only find a couple if I was lucky enough to find any at all.  I drove to Ely, Nevada the night prior and stayed at the historic Hotel Nevada.  When it was built in 1929 it was the tallest building in the state at 6 stories high.

Yelland Dry Lake is bound on the east and west by the Humbolt National Forest.   The Schell Creek Range lies to the west and still had a some snow on its peaks just 1 month shy of the start of summer.


The weather out on the playa was perfect, but a small storm soon gathered to the west.  It rained on the mountains all day.


I had the whole valley to myself all morning but didn't manage to find a meteorite (I found two wicked meteorwrongs, though).  Richard and Doug drove in from so. Cal. that morning and met up with me in the early afternoon.  We teamed up to hit a part of the lake bed a little south of where I'd spent the morning.  Richard was first on the radio with a find, followed immediately by Doug.  Then I made my first find of the day, too.  Bam bam bam we all had meteorites in our pockets!  My first find was 3.4g with a bit of old fusion crust still showing.


I sat down for a well-earned lunch and watched the rain.  It only rained on the mountains, the rain never made it out onto the lake bed.


After my lunch it didn't take long to make find #2, a 1.9g fragment only about 50' away from my first find.


I placed flags at my find locations to give me a visual point of reference as I gridded the area.  Below are the flags from my first two finds.


Find #3 followed in short order, a 3.7g fragment.  I knew I had found a nice little cluster and spent the rest of the evening combing the area.


Find #4 was my largest of the day at 7.1g.


Find #5, a 6.5g fragment.


Find #6 and the flag marking its location, 4.8g.


The sun was setting and we had a 2-mile hike back to the vehicles, but I had a feeling there was still a find or two left to be made.  Find #7 turned out to be a 4.1g fragment.


Just for good measure I managed to find one more; #8 was 1.5g.


Richard ended up with 6 finds for the day, and Doug found 4 separate little clusters for a total of about 10 fragments.  On the hike out I found this unfortunate fellow.  Moo.


Until next time, Yelland!

I left for home the next morning and stopped at the Alamo Breccia site on my way down south.  367 million years ago a huge meteoroid slammed into Nevada, which at that time was covered with a shallow ocean.  The resulting impact jumbled up the sea floor, bedrock, and marine critters (which fossilized) and formed a beautiful impact breccia.  On the way up to the exposed breccia outcropping there's a good view of the road leading out to Groom Lake, a.k.a. Area 51.


The breccia outcropping is just a short hike from the road.




I explored the exposed breccia and managed to locate one fossil.