Meteorite Hunting in Moss, Norway
The Moss meteorite fell on 14th July 2006. Soon after, we jumped on a plane to see if we could find any more pieces of the meteorite
Here I am, at
the start of Day 1 of our meteorite hunt, on the border of Moss
I'm not sure what the Norwegian graffiti means......if it's something obscene, I accept no liability :-)
Click on the pictures below for a larger image
|My neighbour and hunting buddy, Will B.Joy - one of the most experienced, successful, yet modest desert meteorite hunters within the collecting community today.|
|Bicycles were the best way of getting around the strewnfield. Great for getting in and out of the industrial estate, carparks, loading bays without drawing too much attention, dirt tracks, forest lanes, and just about anywhere.|
|This was a very tough
strewnfield to hunt, much like here in the UK. Crops,
weeds, and dense forest, where we had to crawl through
the undergrowth, looking for hidden black rocks and holes
in the ground. Bob Haag found a snake, which put us all
on our guard.
A huge lake sits right in the middle of the distribution ellipse, meaning that half of the strewnfield is unsearchable and it's meteorites lost forever.
|It rained for about 40
minutes on Tuesday morning. It was the first real rain
for several weeks, and we wondered if it might draw house
owners' attention to any meteoritic roof holes that had
started to leak. Later that day, we called into the local
newspaper offices and heard that the Unil warehouse
building in the industrial estate had reported a leaking
roof to a roof repairer, who had then found a meteorite
wedged in the roofing insulation.
This picture shows the beginnings of the repair job, just before the meteorite had been noticed.
|There were 2 layers of bitumen roofing felt, a thick layer of Rockwool insulation, a few inches of polystyrene insulation board, and another layer of bitumen felt. All of this was just about the perfect cushion for a falling meteorite, and the stone itself was saved - almost perfectly fusion crusted, apart from two or three tiny dinks on the corners (see pictures below).|
|There were a couple of camera crews, news photographers and reporters on the roof, plus a whole bunch of excited meteorite people.|
|Compass, GPS, punched hole, and the star of the show itself.|
|The beautiful meteorite. The bubbly underside is the punched-out layer of bitumen roofing felt, which fits perfectly onto the bottom of the meteorite.|
|Here's a hi-res close-up of the Unil meteorite.|
|Probably the greatest photograph in the whole history of meteoritics.|
|Removing some souvenirs for the museum.|
|The roof repairer, removing more souvenirs before fixing the damage. Hopefully, he was paid by the hour!|
|Morten Bilet and Rob
Apart from the chance finds by local residents, only 2 meteorites have been found by meteorite hunters to date. Both were Norwegian hunters who were out there purposefully searching - Morten Bilet and Mike Mazur. Great work guys!
|Bob Haag, me, and the
In the early evening, I ran into Bob (almost literally) in the strewnfield again, while cycling down a steep hill. I'm not sure who was the most knackered - Bob stomping up the hill, or me peddling down it on that bloody bike. Luckily, Pizzas and liquid refreshment ensued for several hours of apres-hunt relaxation, alongside Moss harbour, into the small hours of the next morning.
|Bob, Will, me and the
Notice how I wouldn't put the meteorite down, or let anyone else hold it :-)
|Norwegian televison astronomer, Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard|
|Heading out into the forest for more hunting, we passed by the Johansen home, where a 750g meteorite had hit a plum tree, breaking off several branches. We looked kinda suspicious hanging around outside someone's home; no-one was home but there were neighbours out in their gardens, so we backed off and took some photographs from the forest track.|
|The meteorite plum tree in the rear garden.|
|Back home again after
passing through 3 different airports, during Britain's
recent terrorist alert. The security and the delays were
a nightmare, but we made it ok.
Our thanks to Norway and all of the bemused Norwegian folk who chatted and helped us with information during our hunt, all without hesitation.
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Wynd, Milton of Balgonie, Fife. KY7 6PY United Kingdom
Please - no requests to authenticate old rock and stone finds
I've heard the "My grandad saw it fall in a field and gave it to me!" story (and all variations) a zillion times
© Rob Elliott