A new ---and very tiny--- Majuba??? October 21, 2005

Northwest of the Rye Patch Reservoir on the north side of I-80 between Lovelock and Winnemucca, Nevada, is an area that has been hit hard for gold nuggets ever since metal detectors were invented. The nugget patch is spread in spots over an area of 15 to 20 square miles. It has been hit very, very hard for a very, very long time with every successive generation of metal detecting equipment.

Now, most everyone in the meteorite community knows that it is virtually inevitable that an area of this size hit this hard for this long WILL yield meteorites. It has. I don't know the full totals, but I am aware of no less than 6 finds (and these may all be paired).

For about 3 years, whenever possible, I have searched all over the area without any luck (except for about 20 nice gold nuggets). Recently several key lines of evidence converged. After a lengthy embargo, locations were published for Majubas 1, 2, and 3 in the latest Meteoritical Bulletin. Then, in April, John Wolfe found two more, one of which is currently offered for sale through Anne Black's Impactika website. The latter includes a photo of John in the find area. I plotted the coordinates for the first three, printed out a photo from the new finds, saught the matching location, and found that
all were in a very small area in a part of the nugget patch where very few nuggets exist. I had never worked that area before. The meteorite find area is in the form of a triangle about 2000 feet on a side. The piece described here was found near the center of this triangle.

I worked back and forth between the various find sites with a Fisher Gold Bug-2 metal detector and over a period of about 20 hours found
one suspect speck. I may be nuts, and a Ni test is still pending, but I think this is real, and if so, certainly the smallest Majuba yet! (Be certain about this: it was NOT my aim to find the smallest ever. I was kinda hoping for what the Franconia folks (Asher, Baird, & Ortega) just found (mid-October)--- about 600 pieces/26+ kilos in an 800 square foot area!). Oh well. One must start somewhere.

Here it is. My newest pride and joy. Don't laugh---

Okay, that's pretty tenuous for a visual identification, but this thing screams in the metal detector. It is very strongly attracted to a magnet. And when I stroked it on a diamond file, this is what I saw:

When a stony explodes and goes mostly to dust, the biggest surviving fragments in the dust cloud would be expected to be high-tensile-strength metal blebs, and this looks like a winner. I have found all sorts of cast-iron bits and welding beads and other assorted scrap metal in the general Majuba area, but none look like this, and there is almost no junk metal in the meteorite patch itself.. Check out that metal texture. About 40% of the mass flaked off as "shale" flakes while I filed it (these are being tested for nickel).

What is the lower size limit for a new meteorite find???? This may well explore the limits. It weighs about 0.1 gms ( including the shale) and has a maximum dimension of about 4.3 mm. That's about the size of a BB, but half the thickness. (In the image those are scratch marks from the file showing in the metal).

Don't raise your glasses till we do the nickel test, but I'm willing to bet this is the real deal! Say hello to the tiniest Majuba ever!

If this is paired with Majubas 001, 002, 003, and 004, it is a fragment of an H4 Ordinary Chondrite.


Norm Lehrman

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