A few minutes after 7:00p on July 19, 1912, a small boy who was playing outside his home in Holbrook, Arizona, ran inside and screamed, “it’s raining rocks!” And he was right. Literally thousands of stones rained down on a large area near local train tracks, most of them ranging in size from a BB to a softball. And meteorite hunters have made the pilgrimage ever since, to try their luck at finding the now-elusive stones scattered about the desert floor. Several times over the last decade or so, I’ve visited Holbrook, and have come home with several grams of this elusive prize.

Some areas of terrain are covered with earth-rocks, making meteorite-hunting extremely difficult!

No, it’s not desert-golf! But a converted golf club with a strongly magnetic tip helps avoid sore backs after hours of searching Eureka! (Yep, it’s there…just left of and below center)

My trips to the Arizona strewnfield wouldn’t have been as rewarding or as pleasant without the hospitality of Holbrook resident Dave Andrews (below, on right). He has graciously provided room and board, but most especially, he has also provided his expertise. Dave knows the strewnfield better than anyone, and is always willing to share his hunting techniques!

Northern Arizona has another claim to fame in the world of meteorites. Approximately halfway between Winslow and Flagstaff is the Holy Grail of cosmic impacts.

Known as “Meteor Crater” in the guidebooks, this is the crater that formed some 50,000 years ago, when a mass of nickel-iron the size of a building smashed into the Arizona desert at cosmic velocity, probably more than 10 miles per second. The crater is 4,000 feet across and 2.4 miles in circumference - impossible to capture entirely in a single, normal-size image! The magnitude of this event just boggles the mind!

A Visitor Center provides excellent viewing of the magnificent crater as well as interactive learning centers….and the inevitable gift shop!