Old Woman Meteorite - Barstow CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 34° 53.452 W 117° 01.326
11S E 497980 N 3860940
Quick Description: The Old Woman Meteorite is the second largest meteorite in the United States. It is 38 inches (97 cm) long, 30 inches (76 cm) wide, and 34 inches (56 cm) high. It weighs 6,070 pounds (2,750 kg).
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 6/17/2013 9:22:19 AM
Waymark Code: WMHAY0
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 8

Long Description:
In late 1975, three prospectors found the meteorite in the Old Woman Mountains of San Bernardino County, California. Several months later they took Dr. Roy Clarke, Curator of Meteorites for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., to the site. He confirmed that it was a meteorite.

Since the meteorite was on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the prospectors filed a mining claim on the site. To their disappointment they learned that meteorites were not a locatable mineral as defined by the mining law. Instead, under the provisions of the Antiquities Act, meteorites found on public land were considered objects of scientific interest and therefore should go to the Smithsonian Institution.

Removing the meteorite from its resting place proved difficult because of the rugged terrain, the weight of the meteorite, and the desert's summer heat. It took the assistance of the U.S. Marine Corps to get the job done.

A rigging team from the first Marine Division Support Group climbed to the site and, using equipment lowered to them by helicopter, managed to get a double thickness of cargo net under the meteorite. A helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 easily plucked the three ton meteorite from the mountain. They flew it to where it could be kept in California for a short period so people living in the state in which it was found could have a chance to view it.

The meteorite was placed on display at BLM buildings and museums in El Centro, Riverside, Redlands, Los Angeles, and Barstow. Public interest was intense and it was visited by thousands of people from all over the United States.

In March 1978, the meteorite was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. for study and to be placed on exhibit. A 942 pound (427 kg) section was removed. The section was closely examined to determine its chemical composition, mineral distribution, and rare gas content. These examinations indicated that the Old Woman Meteorite may be rare because of an internal structure that appears to be transitional between two well-known types of metallic meteorites.

According to Dr. Clarke, meteorites are the oldest objects available for scientific study and are thought to be left-overs from the time of the solar system's formation. By studying the Old Woman Meteorite, scientists hope to learn more about the origin of the solar system as well as the environment in which the meteorite was formed and existed for about 4 1\2 billion years.

In September 1980, the Smithsonian Institution sent the meteorite minus 15% of its bulk (the 942 pound {427 kg} section) back to California to be place on permanent display at the California Desert Information Center in Barstow. Interested people are invited to stop by and have a look at a truly unusual rock.

(visit link)
Type of Display: Geological

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