Nevada Meteorite Picture of the Day

Discover the Solar System - right here in the Nevada desert! Each day a different image or photograph of a NEVADA meteorite will be featured, along with a brief explanation written by a meteorite-recovery expert.

2003 July 15
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Name of Nevada Meteorite: Alkali 002 - provisional nomenclature
Credit: Image by Robert Verish, taken 2002 December 1st.

Explanation:

The above image depicts the first of 5 meteorite fragments that were found at Alkali [dry] Lake in Esmeralda County on December 1st, 2002.
Four years earlier on July 20th 1998, the 8th Nevada meteorite was found here by Nick Gessler. During those intervening years many other experienced searchers have tried in vain to make another meteorite find. In fact, I led small teams of experienced meteorite-recovery experts on two earlier attempts and had no success, as well. But after making some observations at other dry lakes about how the prevailing wind direction would be very different from one season to the next, I decided to return with another team, as soon as possible, before the snow would start to fall.
The weekend finally came, but only two volunteers showed up for the trip. They were both "housewives" from the Sacramento CA area, Mrs. Monika E. Waiblinger-Seabridge, and Cuc Schaffer. When we got to Tonopah, it started to SNOW! We were a day late! By Sunday most of the snow in the valley areas had melted, but the "dry" lakes... weren't. So we were forced to abandon our vehicles and to WALK, but only along the rocky shoreline and on the gravel bars. Walking limited the amount of area that we would be able to cover that day. So, it became imperative to chose only that portion of the shoreline that was the most promising. By having studied the history of the weather patterns and prevailing wind direction for this area, I was able to narrow down this "most promising" area to just a 1 mile stretch of shoreline. I directed the two women to search along this stretch of shoreline.
After only a few hours, I received a two-way radio transmission from Monika, saying that she had reached the middle of this 1 mile stretch of shoreline and that she had "an out-of-place stone for me to identify"! Upon catching up with Moni, I found a broad area of widely scattered pebbles and small cobbles that had a sharp demarcation along its lake side. Her out-of-place stone was right on this demarcation. I inspected her find and immediately confirmed that it was "indeed as out-of-place as a piece of asteroidal debris could be"! I reworded my last statement and repeated, "Yes! It's a fragment of a chondritic stone meteorite".
We found four more fragments, all within a narrow area, or "accumulation zone". With all but one small fragment, I was able to "physically pair" all the larger fragments. This one small fragment is still undergoing study, but it appears to be an impact melt that is unpaired to the other four fragments.

Some more IMAGES:
Alkali (H6 S2 W2)
Alkali 002 (prov.) (H5 S3 W3) - All 4 fragments side-by-side.
Close-up of the "A" fragment of Alkali 002 (prov.) (H5)
The finder Mrs. Monika E. Waiblinger-Seabridge of Sacramento, California. Moni is holding the "reconstructed" mass (all 4 fragments) of Alkali 002 (prov.) (H5) - piecing together the puzzle at the find locality. Moni found a 5th fragment (8 grams) that didn't physically fit to this puzzle. It is still held-up in the "classification backlog", but it appears to be an impact melt, and is unpaired to the other 4 fragments. This "5th fragment" would then become "Alkali 003".
Close-up of a cut surface on Alkali 002 (prov.) (H5 S3 W3)

(Scale is 1 centimeter cube.)

For Reference:

Alkali [Lake]
3752'N 11724'W
Esmeralda County, Nevada, USA
Found 1998 July 20
Ordinary chondrite (H6)
Two stones, weighing a total of 30.47 g, were recovered two miles apart by Nicholas Gessler from the dry surface of Alkali Lake.
Mineralogy and classification (A. Rubin, UCLA) olivine, Fa 19.3; shock stage, S2; weathering grade,W2.
Specimens: type specimen, 5.4 g, UCLA; main mass, Gessler.

Alkali 002
[Nomenclature pending approval]
Esmeralda County, Nevada, USA
Found 2002 December 01
Ordinary chondrite (H5)
One (reconstructed) stone, from 4 physically-paired fragments, weighing a total of 163.1 g, were recovered ~10 meters apart by Mrs. Monika E. Waiblinger-Seabridge, and Robert Verish from along the shoreline of Alkali Dry Lake. [Within this same ~20 square meter area, a 5th fragment (7.75 grams) was found, as well (by MEW), but has been subsequently identified as being an impact-melt and is not paired to any previously found stone from Alkali Dry Lake.]
Mineralogy and classification (A. Rubin, UCLA) olivine, Fa 17.n+/-n.n; shock stage, S3; weathering grade, W3.
Specimens: type specimen, 26.1 g, UCLA; main mass, Verish(MRF).

Tomorrow's picture: back to Roach Dry Lake


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Authors & editors: Robert Verish (M-Recovery)