What rockhound would not like to have a meteorite on display in his or her collection? And Arizona is one of the top states in which to find a piece of flying space debris that has managed to survive the trip through the atmosphere to rest amid common earth rocks.
With their vast tracts of undeveloped land, it’s not surprising that states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are well known to collectors for their meteorite sources. Arizona has an additional claim to meteorite fame with the existence of the giant Meteor Crater, a U.S. National Natural Landmark in central Arizona that is privately owned and kept open to the public by the Barringer family.
Though Meteor Crater is a huge attraction, it is not the most common site where meteorites have been found in recent years. Many meteors have been found around the state, as online maps attest. It takes a bit more research to find the densest areas of specimens, where rockhounds may stand a chance of finding their own elusive stone from space.
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Where To Find Meteorites in Arizona
1.Franconia Dense Collection Field
Arizona’s Mojave County has been the spotlight of meteorite news over the last few years, especially in an area near the town of Franconia. This area, which has been called a dense collection field, has yielded hundreds of finds for eager meteorite hunters.
If you’re searching for your first meteorite, it’s a good idea to know what to look for in the desolate, rock-strewn landscape. Look for rocks that seem heavier than usual for their size, as meteorites are composed of particularly dense materials. Meteorites often have a dark brown or black crust from passing through the earth’s atmosphere. They are also known for having magnetic qualities because of a high iron content, so collectors sometimes use special metal detectors to help locate specimens.
The Franconia field is in an area known as the Sacramento Wash, a major drainage area of northwest Arizona. Other areas of meteorite debris have also been found in this area, northwest of Lake Havasu City and south of Kingman. This specific area was featured in a TV program on the Science Channel called “Meteor Men,” which increased its popularity.
2. Yucca Collection Field
Located about 14 miles northeast of Franconia along I-40, the area around Yucca has also been labeled as a dense collection site. The field area around the town also borders the Sacramento Wash, and the area continues to be frequented by rockhounds with many good results.
Meteorites in the Yucca area also appear as dark brown or black rough stone, dense with magnetic properties. Many meteorites are small, only a few centimeters in size, so you’ll need to be watching closely.
There is limited collecting allowed on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Review the applicable rules and restrictions before heading out on your hunt. Also, remember never to collect from a privately-owned property without permission. There are plenty of BLM controlled land in Arizona where you can legally find success in adding to your personal rockhound collection.
3. Buck Mountain
Also located in Mohave County, the Buck Mountain Wash area lies 10-12 miles southeast of Yucca. Meteors found in the area have been cited along with those found in the Franconia area. Specimens from all these areas can be seen at many area rock shops or rock shows.
The Buck Mountain area is also popular for hiking and camping, with a popular fire tower on Buck Mountain itself that may help you get an idea of the terrain surrounding the range. The wash area is below the eastern slope of the range, and is the target site for meteorite hunters.
4. Willcox Playa
While Mohave County is certainly well-known to meteorite enthusiasts, it is certainly not the sole source for the rocks in Arizona. Many documented meteorite finds have been individually named for easier reference, and websites offer information about where they were found, as well as photos of many.
The Willcox Playa is located in Cochise County in the southeast corner of the state. The sunken, dry lake bed is located about 20 miles southwest of Willcox, and many meteorites have been documented as found there. The playa is an 8-mile wide by 10-mile long triangular area surrounded by mountains.
Although many meteorites have been found in this area, it is not without its hazards. Depending on the season, there may be extreme hot or cold temperatures. Always dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. Meteorite finds have been scattered over the entire area. Some collectors have documented their finds on their personal websites, adding further information and insight into the treasure to be found there.
5. Red Dry Lake
Moving back up to the northwest corner of the state for our final site, We explore another dry lake bed about 40 miles north of Kingman. This is also a large geographical area with many documented meteorite finds, which have been documented by various websites and forums.
The Meteoritical Society has included many listings from the Red Dry Lake area, and there continues to be the expectation of coming across additional pieces of meteorites known to be previously found in the vicinity. You can be certain enthusiasts have no intention of giving up the search anytime soon.
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