How Meteorite Hunters Know Where to Look for Their Quarry
Although countless meteorites fall to Earth each year, finding them is tricky. They land everywhere, but if they plunge into the ocean or drop into forests and fields, they are probably lost forever. The best meteorite hunting grounds are places where these rocks stand out against the landscape: the deserts of Australia, Africa, and the Middle East; the frozen fields of Antarctica; and the dry lakebeds of California and the American southwest.
Meteorites can be hidden by Antarctic snow for years. Every year, expeditions hunt for them on the ice fields during summer in the southern hemisphere. The meteorites that fall in the world’s deserts and on dry lakebeds can lie undisturbed until hunters like Jason Utas find them. Here, he signals his fourth find of the day at a lakebed site in eastern California.
Peter and Jason Utas found this meteorite near Barstow, California, embedded in dry lakebed mud as you see it here. They dug up the soil sample without removing the meteorite to show how it really looked.