Sutter’s Mill, California

Sutter’s Mill was another one of those falls that happens at just the wrong time.  We had radar data almost immediately, knew there were rocks on the ground, and…I had an early final exam the Thursday after the fall.

But, the forced delay made something else possible.  Instead of leaving immediately, I took the time to plan, and was able to organize a Berkeley/Geology Club meteorite hunt that involved some fifteen undergraduate and graduate Cal students for various lengths of time.

Ultimately, four Cal students recovered fragments of the meteorite, myself included. Peter and Barbara also found stones, as did Mendy Ouzillou, a meteorite collector from South Bay who hunted with us.  We spent a great deal of time in the field showing locals (and other hunters) what to look for, and these efforts were not in vain.  A local family recovered two additional stones as the result of our outreach efforts.  In total, our group was responsible for the recovery of over 60 grams of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite — SM#’s 23, 24, 25, 26, 42, 52, 77, 78.

We focused our efforts on any open areas of ground — roads, trails, campgrounds, etc.  Even the closely-cropped grass of a lawn could hide the tiny stones that rained down upon the Coloma/Lotus region. We spent significant time covering all kinds of areas, but found only one stone in a grassy area.

Here are some photos from the hunt.

SM 25, 7.3 grams
Photo credit – Mendy Ouzillou

SM 25, 7.3 grams

SM 25, 7.3 grams
Photo credit – Mendy Ouzillou

UC Berkeley student Ryan Turner in the field

part of the UC Berkeley team
Part of the UC Berkeley team. We had several others with us and teamed up with some folks from UCLA and UC Davis for a few days.

SM 24, ~1.4 of 2.1 grams (fitting 0.7 gram fragment found later by Ryan Turner). SM ? Small fusion-crusted fragment found near SM26 & SM42.  Did not appear to have come from either stone.

SM 26, first half (total ~3.5 grams).

SM 26, first half (total ~3.5 grams).

SM26, second half (total ~3.5 grams).

SM 26 reassembled.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

SM 52, 12.8 grams.

Adding more photos later, stay tuned.