Cat Mountain


cat_mtnThis amazing little meteorite was found in 1978 by a Tucson gentleman who walked through the desert every day to buy his morning newspaper and coffee. One morning he spotted a small impact crater in the sand, at the bottom of which lay this rock. He swore up and down it had not been there the day before, so he picked it up and put in on his mantle, then called me to take a look. On the exterior it didn’t look like any meteorite I’d ever seen, but you never know, so I offered to take off a tiny sample to look for metal grains or chondrules. Unfortunately, he refused to let me touch it, so it sat on his mantle for another eight years until his death, when his son inherited the stone.

The son took the piece to the University of Arizona mineral museum where Shirley Wetmore finally convinced him to allow a corner to be ground off, confirming that it is infact an absolutely unique, anomalous, impact-melt breccia, one half chondrite, one half achondrite meteorite! You can see the large clasts of melted H-chondrite surrounded by totally vitrified material.

A footnote: diligent searching of the same area by several different people turned up one more specimen of Cat Mountain, roughly the size of a pecan, about 1,000 yards from where the first piece was found, some fifteen years before. (Hello? Get that? Go back and research places where meteorites have already been found. You might get very lucky if you know what to look for.