Sunday, January 18, 2015

See a giant-sized meteorite in Barstow, California

Trip Update: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2015

If you happen to be in Barstow, Calif., which is in the desert northeast of Los Angeles, you should stop by the California Desert Information Center to see the Old Woman Meteorite. It's the second largest meteorite ever found in the USA, weighing about three tons. It's mostly iron, which accounts for much of its weight. It came from the Asteroid Belt, which is located in an orbit around the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

There is no need for a burglar alarm on the rock because nobody could ever pick it up without going to lot of trouble. It look a huge effort by the U.S. Marines and a helicopter to lift it onto a truck to bring it to the museum, where it is a big attraction. Three prospector's found it in 1975 in the Old Woman Mountains in San Bernardino County. So that's how it got its name.

PART OF THE METEORITE was sawed off and taken away to be studied. But most of it is still here.

Chances are, this is the oldest thing you will ever see or touch in your life. It's not pretty. It's just a big rock. Still, it's impressive.

Now, your science lesson: All meteorites were once a meteor. They became a meteorite if they made it to the ground without vaporizing, as most do. Most meteorites are dust particles and weigh about .0005 ounces. So the Old Woman Meteorite is a biggie!

The largest meteorite ever found was in Africa and weighs 60 tons. The largest one in the United States, at 15 1/2 tons, landed in Oregon.

Admission to the see the Old Woman Meteorite is free. There are other things to see, too, plus a gift shop where you can buy some cool rocks, but no meteorites.

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