An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine
by Robert Verish
Primm and the other Roach Dry Lake Meteorites
Primm and the other Roach Dry Lake Meteorites
Another effort to reconstruct fragmented meteorites
Monika Waiblinger on Roach Dry Lake in 2009 October, pointing to a 37gram meteorite that she just found.
It's hard to say when this story started. It's not always easy to pinpoint when a specific action precipitates a course of events, particularly when more than one story dovetails and over time forms a braid of history.
If this were just a story about the meteorites found at Roach Dry Lake in Clark County in southern Nevada, then it would be easy to say that this story starts on 1997 December 23rd, for that was the day that Nicholas Gessler discovered the first Primm Meteorite. Nick and his family went on to find 104 more meteorite fragments with a total mass of 3.383 kg. Many of these fragments could be fit together to form larger masses, essentially "reconstructing" the original stone.
But the action that precipitated a series of recent events is easy to pinpoint as occurring on Apr 12, 2013 7:55 PM . That is when "Dolan" Dave Libuszowski reported in his post to the Met-List about his Roach Dry Lake Meteorite Finds. This was well-received by the Met-List and was considered note-worthy because that dry lake was considered "played-out".
Well, that prompted me to post a reply to the Met-List, the contents of which I have transcribed below:
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Roach Dry Lake Finds Date: Saturday, April 13, 2013 2:12 AM From: "Robert Verish"
To: "Meteorite-list Meteoritecentral" Yes, congratulations to David, because a RhDL find is a well-earned feather added to his cap. And yes, I agree with Count Deiro, because I was also one of those people that "thought there couldn't be another specimen out there." But I already had that misconception dispelled right in front of my eyes by someone close to me; that's right, Monika Waiblinger. She had cajoled me into taking her to Roach Dry Lake, and I even said "You know, we're wasting our time because we're not going to find anything". Of course, she wasted no time proving me wrong:
It was clearly a corner fragment to what must have been a very much larger individual. I was stunned. I tried to explain to Moni that this was the first sizable fragment found since 2004, but not only that, I was convinced this would physically-pair to one of Nick Gessler's original Primm (H5) masses, which were all found in the previous century. I made it clear to Moni that in no way was I saying that she found something that was missed by others in all that time. Quite the contrary. This fragment appeared to have been recently exhumed. Up until then, it was not available to have been found. I found this as evidence that dry-lake surfaces can be replenished by exhuming shallow-buried meteorites. The question is, over what period of time, or is the burial-exhumation process cycling frequently. I shared this "replenishment" theory with other finders of Roach Dry Lake meteorites, but most were skeptical and held to their "must-have-been-missed" theory (gradualism). But when they returned to their old find sites/monuments/piles-of-rocks and soon found nearby "more" meteorites (that could not have been missed), they became ardent supporters of the "replenishment" theory. Some of these finds have been documented. Here is a link to a 2010 find: Meteoritical Bulletin entry for RhDL 113 And much more recently, another woman (whose name I am not at liberty to divulge) found a RhDL meteorite which I suspect is not-paired, so I am getting it classified for her: So, instead of the notion that "hard hit areas, will only get continually more difficult to find anything", it may be more prudent to recognize that conditions could change overnight, and that subsequent finds may be more a matter of timing; being at the right place at the right time (after a fortuitous exhumation event). With best regards, Bob V.So, the thrust of my post was that the general consensus about Roach Dry Lake was that, after more than 200 chondritic fragments had been found there, it been cleaned-out. On the other hand, a small faction held-out that the lake-bed had taken a temporary set-back, the consequence of a severe winter storm in 2004-05, when an influx of sediment had wiped-out the effects of many prior years of deflation. This resulted in more than 5 years of nothing notable being found on that lake-bed, that is until Moni made her find in late 2009. This portend the beginning of a phase of good conditions, conducive to recovering more meteorite fragments on that lake-bed surface, as was bourn-out by the recovery of RhDL 113 and the more recent finds by "Dolan" Dave and Kim Cathcart.
A week later after Dave's post on the Met-List, another "Primm" thread was started, this time by Paul Gessler (Nick Gessler's son). For the reader's convenience, I've transcribed Paul's post below:
Subject: [meteorite-list] PRIMM - DRY LAKE HELP
From: Paul Gessler Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2013 11:57:08 -0700 To all You hunters who have searched Primm / Roach Dry lake: Please help me to rebuild one of my favourite meteorite finds. This 242 g individual was found back in 1997 and was reconstructed from 3 pieces and glued back together. It is still missing a small 8 gram wedge shaped piece that hopefully can be reunited with the main mass??? Just want all of you who have hunted Roach D.L. to take a look at this video and see if just maybe you have the piece I am looking for. It would be Incredible to COMPLETE this meteorite's saga. If found, I would be happy to substitute for a larger Primm piece from our collection...and some detailed info on a Nevada strewn field that has yielded some really Amazing finds. Let me know. thanks. Would also be interested in the locations and mass of additional finds regardless of matching my piece so that I can get an idea of what we missed. I want this attempt at unification to get out to everyone so please forward the video to anyone you know who has searched this location or is even slightly interested. This just might work? I hope. Paul Gesslerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW54tdOXWiE
Paul's request prompted me to contact him, and offer to help him with his ongoing effort at "reconstructing" his (and his dad's) Primm meteorites.
I explained to him that although Moni's fragment was too large for the stone in the video, the fact that it was a large "corner-piece" may help to unite other fragments to reconstruct another original stone.
I explained to Paul that (in his video) his use of a clay replica for the missing piece in his rebuilt stone gave me an idea. It reminded me of when the LA County Museum of Natural History had the Getty Museum Conservancy fabricate 2 plastic-cast replicas of my LA 002 mars-rock. I had watched how they made the mold and cast the replica, and it was quite impressive how good of a job they painted the stone. (But then, these were the experts that repaired museum-pieces.)
I told Paul that I had recently done something similar for another meteorite-hunter's puzzle-find, and I would like to try it, again, but with Moni's corner-piece.
I started my process by showing some images of Moni's find taken by me from back in 2009.
I took some more images to make sure I had a good set of "Before" pictures. The side of the fragment that was face-down in the lake-bed silt was the exterior-side, so the relict fusion-crust was somewhat better preserved.
The "hackly-side" was the side facing-up and was exposed to the elements, but it will be the side that must interlock with the other "puzzle-pieces".
The plan was to fabricate a silicon-resin mold and to cast a plaster replica. Moni chose a product she was familiar with from a local hobby shop. The instructions were quite adequate, but I modified them to incorporate a trick that I learned at the Getty Museum. I would make a two-part mold. A bottom part, and a top part.
As of the writing of this article, Paul Gessler hasn't received the resin-cast replica, yet. It was mailed first to his father, Nick, who is on staff at Duke University. Nick will also have to travel back to Los Angeles in order to complete the check-out of his specimens to see if the replica will interlock with any of his puzzle-pieces, before forwarding the replica to his son, Paul, in Canada.
The results of this process will be presented in a second installment of "Bob's Findings" - Primm and the other Roach Dry Lake Meteorites - Part 2 !
REFERENCES:The Wikipedia: entry for Roach, Nevada
The Wikipedia: entry for Primm
- contains links about the Primm Valley (State Line) area in southern Nevada.
Roach Lake USGS Roach Quad, Nevada, Topographic Map:
From a list of search results on Google for "Roach Dry Lake" - which shows the location of "Roach Siding" for which Roach Dry Lake was later named.
For for more information, please contact me by email: