by Michael Blood
Circa 1992, revised 2010
Hunting meteorites in a known strewn field is both frustrating and very rewarding. It is frustrating because
finds are few and far between (unless you have the phenomenal luck of searching a new fall!). In old strewn
fields if you average $1.00 per hour worth of material, you will be doing well. Another possibility, however, is
finding a large specimen, which increases your earnings substantially. Regardless, on the rewarding side, there
is absolutely nothing like finding a meteorite in the field. When you first hold it in your hand you know it has
traveled millions of miles and that no human has ever touched it. It is an experience you will never forget. In
addition, even though many hours may pass between finds, it is very relaxing to be "on the hunt" with no time
lines, schedules, etc.., weighing on your consciousness ---just you (and perhaps a friend) and nature.
Of course, if you are looking in a new fall area, it is possible to make some really very good money. Either way,
to make your hunting time infinitely more productive and enjoyable, it is essential you make a meteorite cane.
First you need to buy any cheep but decent cane at a thrift store. If you cannot find one there, yoiu can usually
pick one up at a drug store for under $10. Make sure it is a light one. I like them as light as possible &
though I have a couple, I almost always use the light bent rattan or bamboo one. Near the tip, about 1/2 inch
up, tape a very strong rare earth magnet with electrician's tape or duct tape. You can get super magnets easily
on the Internet. Here are a couple of locations:
About 99% of all meteorites are moderately to strongly responsive to a good rare earth magnet. This makes
checking any suspected candidates very quick and easy as you tap about with the tip of the cane while walking
at a decent clip. When I was hunting Hollbrook with Steve Shoner back around '92, I was astonished at his
rapid relentless pace. Without a meteorite cane you would be stopping and bending over THOUSANDS of
times, covering far less area and taxing your back to the limit.
Yes there are a few "hot rocks" that respond to a rare earth magnet and are not meteoric, however they rarely
look meteoric upon close inspection. You do, however, need to be familiar with meteorites and "meteorwrongs"
to tell the difference. See link for an extensive display of “meteorwrongs” below:
You just bring the tip of the cane up for a close look for the tell tale fusion crust, or lack there of. When you do
find a true meteorite it will jump out of the dirt and "click" to the magnet. My nephew had a 40 gram Correo,
which was 9/10's F.C. covered, dislodge itself from a hardened earth to leap on to his cane with a "click" that
will not soon be forgotten! NOTE: It was Steve Shoner that told me how to make a meteorite cane many years
ago. Steve was one of the great ones. I added the far higher quality rare earth magnet and now people are
making them commercially as a telescoping wands, long sweeping heads to be used like a metal detector, etc.
For myself, I prefer the Ol’ homemade meteorite cane.