Hello from Sunny Texas, under clear and starry-eyed skies at the moment,

A few stones were found right at the time of the fall, however, they were not definitively identified as meteorites - though that was the suspicion and they were saved.

We (Doug Dawn, Dmitry Sadilenko, Sergey Petukov) drove across the country and estimated the location of the strewn field within 48 hours of the event. With a bit of tenacity, scarcely four hours after the second day, thanks to the help of some Texas-sized hospitality, we arrived in the strewn field and found our first couple of stones and I had the distinct pleasure of shaking the finders hand and removing any lingering doubts in his mind that he had meteorites fresh from Heaven's farm.

After the initial success, my good friend and asteroidhunter, Rob Matson of Los Angeles, joined up with the team. We have found some stones, but more are being found by others, and we really expect larger masses to be found, though hard work in the field definitely gets you wondering if just because such a meteoritical spectacle drops one stone, should it drop the thousands we keep expecting to see? The TKW is rapidly evolving, but the area is being hit quite hard by hunters already. This doesn't seem to be a dense fall, and some areas are very easy to search, though bramble in other areas effectively keeps those off limits. All land is private and most families keep their gun collections well oiled. In our case, the big-hearts of the landowners have humbled easily as much as the witness reports of the bolide's fragmenting itself. This is at odds with some other reports, only because residents of the area treasure their privacy and were completely overwhelmed by the wave of treasure hunters that descended. We almost lost our permission to hunt when they believed that we were somehow responsible for several meteorite hunters showing up with a news crews. Besides being quite busy, I promised to respect the anonymity of our hosts as a condition of our search, and this evening we reaped the benefits of a delicious home-cooked dinner prepared by the caring hands of our hosts at their dinner table. There is a great Texas steakhouse on I-35 which adds to the flavor for anyone wanting to experience Texas culture, cowboys and pretty cowgirls from West, TX.

It has been an incredible last few days, which started by being the first to walk in a virgin strewn field, though my mother had some problems (she seems better now) that have somewhat muted what will undoubtedly be some of the most memorable moments of my life. It is way past bedtime and I will post more tomorrow. The meteorite itself is moderately to highly shocked and has a very bright, light, interior and veins of troilite and nodules of metal, and the majority of stones found are fully fusion crusted. More on the classification on Saturday. We certainly were not in a mass-laden portion of the strewn field, other hunters please take note; more likely just a place where a minor fragmentation impacted. In any case, we are committed to getting the science done so everyone else can rest assured that we have already gladly provided the mass requirements necessary for this honor.

All in all, a very humbling experience for many reasons. To pick up a piece of a falling star and I thought, detect a faint sulfurous odor. It seems a dog even caught the scent of a meteorite and laid it down on the owners porch!

Best wishes and clear skies

-----Original Message-----
From: Pat Branch <pat_bra...@yahoo.com>
To: drtan...@yahoo.com; Global Meteor Observing Forum <meteor...@meteorobs.org>
Sent: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 9:28 am
Subject: Re: (meteorobs) West, Texas meteorite finds

The University of North Texas Astronomers have found 4 so far. I saw a
video clip of them. The biggest is about 3 times the others...just
about palm sized.

I think that is 4 for Farmer and 4 for UNT. I have not heard of other
teams finding anything.

--- In meteor...@yahoogroups.com, drtanuki <drtan...@...> wrote:

Dear List,
Here are the latest reports from the West, Texas fall.


Best Regards, Dirk Ross...Tokyo
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