Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield [Map] “Mifflin”

WI Strewnfield Radar MapAfter much work and the combined efforts of countless meteorite hunters, collectors, dealers and scientist’s data. The Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield Map is done (more coordinates will be added as they come in). This is a work in progress.

AUTHORS NOTE: Do not hunt on landowners land without gaining permission to hunt FIRST!
Disclaimer: Don’t use these maps to hunt meteorites! These maps are for educational and informational purposes only. If you use these maps for hunting meteorites, you do so at your own risk. Simple.

UPDATE: It’s official! Mifflin is the name of this L5 stone chondrite meteorite.  Not long ago the Meteoritical Society released the classification information and name of the meteorite. Please read the classification info provided below.

Mifflin MeteoriteMIFFLIN METEORITE:

Official Name: Mifflin
Observed fall: Yes
Year fell: 2010
Mass: (TKW) 3.58 kg
Mifflin: 42°54’27″N, 90°21’56″W
Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States
Fell: April 14, 2010, 10:07 pm CDT (UT-5)
Classification: Ordinary chondrite (L5)
Mass (g): >3584
Pieces:    >70
Class:    L5
Shock stage: S1
Weathering grade: W0

SOURCE: Meteoritical Bulletin Meteorite Database

Update (cont): You can view photos of my meteorite finds at the bottom of this article, and also read the article I wrote on “The Great WI Meteorite Fall & Strewnfield” in the July issue of Meteorite Hunting & Collecting Magazine.

Since posting this article I’ve received much positive feedback and will be expanding on this article and the information on the strewnfield when I get time. Thank you everyone for your continued support and interest!

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Thanks go out to all those who contributed data to help in the creation of this map. As far as I know there is no other Wisconsin meteorite fall strewnfield map which is more accurate with more coordinate locations that is publicly available.

All locations are accurate to within 10-20 feet of actual find location. The variance is only due to the accuracy of the GPS device which recorded the data. If you happen to find an error or omission please let me know and I’ll get it fixed when I have time.

Those of you who’ve not yet contributed your data to the map, and who want to see your coordinate(s) on this map, please let me know, and I’ll update the map to include your data as well.

The distribution of the meteorites within the marked area suggest there are much larger pieces further southeast of Mineral Point where the last 105.1g stone was found by Michael Cottingham. The 1.5g stone furthest to the northwest was found by a local meteorite hunter/landowner.

The path of the fireball took it over Preston, WI, Past Mifflin, and out further beyond Mineral Point dropping meteorites along the way.

Size of the WI Strewnfield
Video analysis of the fireball recorded from Milwaukee suggests the last two bursts or “fragmentation events” happened over Mineral Point, and eyewitness accounts have also supported this, meaning that much larger pieces of the WI meteorite can most likely be found further southeast of Mineral point. It’s possible the known strewnfield, as depicted in these maps, only account for HALF of the actual distribution ellipse. Given the very shallow 11 degree angle of descent, it’s been estimated by experts to be up to 25 miles long, perhaps longer.

Current known size is 16.37 miles long from the smallest to largest piece, and approximately 2.1 miles in width. There are two main clusters of meteorites distributed around the Iowa-Grant school, and the area near where the “Shed Hitter” was discoverd by a local landowner.

Dynamics of the Meteorite Finds & Meteorite Hunt
The meteorite hunt started near the “Shed Hitter” meteorite and continued outward from there logically expanding to surrounding properties for the first few days after the meteorite fall. It is this authors opinion that the reason there are two “clusters” of meteorites evidenced on the map isn’t only the effect of the fragmentation events in the video, but also the dynamics of the hunt itself and the publicity it generated in the media.

There was a media interview at the Iowa-Grant School a few days after the meteorite fall when a student found a meteorite practically on camera. Word got out quickly that a child had found a stone, at the school and meteorite hunters rushed to the school skipping much of the area between. Things happened fast after that and the areas between the school and where the Shed Hitter stone was found did not get hunted as hard during the following days and weeks. This is only my personal observation, and I could be wrong, but I’ll go with it…

It was tough hunting and nothing like the West, TX (Ash Creek) meteorite hunt. People complained “West” was hard to hunt. West was a cake walk compared to the Wisconsin meteorite hunt in the total hours hunted per meteorite found and miles walked to find them. It was grueling, painful and worth every aching and adventurous step. Meteorite Hunters went home with blisters on top of blisters. Most never found a stone in all their days of hunting. All of it was worth it though for the excitement of finding a fresh WI meteorite!

The Big Ones, Rumors & Misinformation
So where are the big ones? There were rumors circulating of a 2 kilo meteorite found by a local in the area. There are  two reasons for this. I believe the first is because there was a local man traveling the area with a REAL meteorite, from a FRESH fall and it was a big one. My hunting partner and I caught up with this local at the Friendly Place in Livingston, and he stated the weight of the stone (which he did not want to sell) was just over 1 kilo. I personally held this stone, and took photos of it. It’s possible this is where the rumors of a “2 kilo” stone originated, but it’s hard to tell. You can imgagine the Buzz this guy generated around town to those who don’t know about meteorites, and those who would automatically associate this 1 kilo meteorite with the recent fireball.

It wasn’t… I asked the local man where he found it, of course he was not willing to reveal his find location. At first he claimed he found it near Rewey, then he changed his story and claimed it was from a fall in another state. It’s possible he was giving disinformation about the find location, and it’s also possible this meteorite was in fact from the WI fireball. We examined the stone, tested it with a magnet, and viewed it under 10X magnification with our loupe. It did not look like ANY of the tens of meteorites we saw, handled and examined from the WI meteorite strewnfield. This leads me to believe it was in fact NOT from the WI meteorite fall, and the start of the “2 kilo” stone mystery. There was also a short lived rumor about a “Bowling Ball” sized meteorite that was found. It turned out that this rumor started from people visiting the Pop Corn shop in Montfort. There were photos on display of a local man with what appeared to be a large stone. People were claiming this stone was also from this meteorite fall, but that myth was quickly dispelled when the fact came out it might be a meteorite found some decades before. An old find, not a fresh fall meteorite.

Also, if someone actually had a 2 kilo meteorite from this meteorite fall, we’d most likely be seeing photos of it all over the internet. There are most likely larger meteorites out there from this meteorite fall, but they probably have not been found yet. There is most probably a larger stone than the current main mass of 332g. A local landowner may have found one already.  But the point being that it’s only rumor until it’s proven to be true.

WI Meteorite Strewnfield Analysis & Observation – Distribution of Debris
After careful examination of all available data and spending 16 straight days in the strewnfield, walking more than 250 miles,  finding more than 100 grams of meteorites myself,  interviewing countless landowners and eyewitnesses,  and compiling all data possible, I will give my opinion on the distribution of the meteorite material found in the WI meteorite strewnfield.

The distribution of the meteorite debris in the WI strewnfield, combined with radar and weather data,  shows that there was a upper level winds which blew smaller pieces to the south of center-line. (Note: Center-Line is labeled “Flight Path” in the Key on the map)

The shallow entry angle of the meteoroid calculated by Rob Matson and announced on the Meteorite-List supports the physical evidence on the ground. Meteorites are scattered, few and far between, in some cases miles apart between finds.

The large pieces are usually directly on or more north of the center-line, the lighter pieces got blown downwind, and from altitude had more time to fall, hence the ground distance covered by the debris in the fall time is about 1 mile off center. Larger pieces were found more northeast of the center shown on the map.

If you factor in the wind when considering the locations of the larger recovered finds, relative to the center-line, this suggests that even the larger recovered pieces were also effected by the wind and got blown further south. As would be natural. What the map doesn’t tell you is, and in this authors opinion, is that I believe the “actual” flight path to be further north east of the recovered finds, and not directly beneath the red center-line.

Larger pieces of debris will be less effected by upper level winds and travel much further. We know this. But the data also tells us that to find the larger meteorites, we’ll have to look not just further southeast of Mineral point, but also 1/2 to 1 mile north of the center line. The center- line is nothing more than an arbitrary line drawn in 2D space on the map. It only represents the center-line of the known strewnfield, and probably not the actual flight path of the meteoroid during atmospheric entry which could be plus or minus a few degrees in direction and trajectory. I’m not a mathematician so I’ll leave all the complicated physics and calculations to the experts.

Conclusion
There are more meteorites out there! Like duh…

Probably lots more. Meteorite hunters were only there for little more than a month.  The search became fragmented and many places were left unsearched. People will continue to go back and hunt the WI strewnfield for a long time to come. There may even be larger stones found, and there is definitely a larger main mass out there somewhere just waiting to be found. The question is not if, but when it will be found.

The WI Meteorite Strewnfield MapDownload Larger JPG Map 7.97MB
 Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield Map

Radar Overlay MapDownload Larger JPG Map 8.12MB
Here is one radar overlay for comparing find locations to actual Radar returns. Notice most returns are South and West of find locations.
Radar Map of the Wisconsin Meteorite Strewnfield

Google Earth KMZ File of the Wisconsin Meteorite StrewnfieldDownload KMZ
For those of you interested in the actual GE file, here it is. You will need Google Earth installed on your computer to view the KMZ file format. Click Here To Download Google Earth

Thanks & Appreciation
Thanks go out (in no certain order) to Mike Miller, Ruben Garcia, Mike Farmer, Rob Matson, Rob Wesel, Sonny Clary, Steve Arnold of Meteorite Men, Robert Woolard, Mark Hirsch, Vicky Olds, Greg Hupe, Michael Cottingham,  Derek Bowers, Larry Atkins, Jim Baxter, Kieth & Dana Jenkerson, Shea Gorzelanczyk. If I missed someone PLEASE forgive me, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Most of all I would like to thank all the kind and generous people of Livingston, WI, and surrounding towns which allowed all of us to hunt for “little black rocks”  on their lands. To them all of us owe great thanks and appreciation. I’ve never met nicer people than in WI, even in the Pacific Northwest people aren’t as nice. They chatted with us, allowed us on their lands, invited us into their home and informed us of the history and folklore of the area. We learned much about the rich culture and history of the hard working people.  I for one can say I’m truly thankful for their generosity. Thank you Wisconsin!

Special thanks go out to the folks at the “Friendly Place” on Hwy 80 in Livingston. An aptly named establishment, which became the hub of the area for the likes of us. Can’t forget the “squeaky cheese”! So yummy! Oh and to the folks at the “Popcorn Shop” in Montfort, I couldn’t eat another bite I stuffed myself with so much of your GREAT popcorn. So many flavors to choose from I had to get them all.

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Finding A Meteorite:

So how does it ‘feel’?

The Feeling You Get
The feeling of sheer shock and excitement when you look down and “see” a meteorite laying on the ground before you is indescribable. But I’ll try… Your heart jumps, you pause, seconds tick by and realize you’re holding your breath hoping it doesn’t disappear. After all you’ve been hunting for so long. You finally breathe, and warily kneel before your celestial prize, your mind focused intently, your heart racing, and your body rushing and filling with emotion and the primal instinct to snatch it up and hold it high in the air and scream at the top of your lungs “GOT ONE!” to your hunting partner, who’s probably to far away to hear you anyway. You regain your composure enough to calm yourself and reach for your camera, shoot an in-situ photo of your glorious meteorite and GPS the find location. You look up and realize your hunting partner is standing beside you, attracted most likely by your insanely crazy display of happiness. You share a few back pats, and the customary handshake, congratulations and then it’s off to find another. Possibly days, weeks, or months of hunting away.

UPDATE: Mifflin Meteorite Find Photos

14.8g Oriented Fully Crusted Mifflin Meteorite

14.8g Oriented Fully Crusted Mifflin Meteorite

 

20.1g Nearly Complete Mifflin Meteorite - Found after a day of rain.

20.1g Nearly Complete Mifflin Meteorite - Found after a day of rain.

32g Mifflin Meteorite - Fully Fusion Crusted Perfectly Flight Oriented Nose Cone

32g Mifflin Meteorite - Fully Fusion Crusted Perfectly Flight Oriented Nose Cone

33.5g Mifflin Meteorite - Fully Fusion Crusted Meteorite

33.5g Mifflin Meteorite - Fully Fusion Crusted Meteorite

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Meteorite Hunting & Collecting MagazineLearn more about meteorites, meteorite hunting, meteorite collecting, astronomy, and science related to meteorites in our new magazine ‘Meteorite Hunting & Collecting

Learn what meteorites are, where they come from, how to collect and how to find meteorites.

Comments

  1. Brian Cox says:

    hi Eric,

    Excellent work on this. Very impressive. I enjoyed the map and the story. It got me all excited and I want to go and try to hunt, almost like when it first fell. Guess I might have to wait until the crops are harvested, but it was a very enjoyable article and all the work you put into it is great.

    thanks,

    Brian

    • Diane says:

      Hello, I have been hunting meteorites and metal detecting here in the Central, WI area ( Places of Spencer,WI for a few years now, Lots of people know me as “The meteorite Lady. ” I have found many rocks and some with the exact symptoms of a meteorite, but have not sent them in as of yet. The owners will be notified if they are a meteorite and I keep good records of all finds. I am just a armature hunter, how-ever through my interests in hunting meteorites I was invited to do a few meteorite talk type shows for a few clubs dealing with gold panning and other unique geology hobbies. Through that, I have met many wonderful people and learned lots of good geology information as well. I did find a real meteorite when I was young but lost it during moving , the rock was confirmed through the University of Madison as a real meteorite. Someday I will find another meteorite, but for now I am Glad to have met good people and had a chance to do some meteorite teaching to others who were interested in meteorites. I also have spoken with some of the great meteorite finders like Robert Haag ( The Meteorite Man) and some teachers/ specialists from around the USA. I also would like to meet Ruben Garcia and The Meteorite Man guys someday, that would truly make my day!
      Some people feel it is a odd hobby hunting meteorites, how-ever It gets into your blood and it is great exercise and It’s also fun hunting for them! So I still say: Never give up, keep looking to the sky and always look down, because that is where finding a meteorite begins!

  2. admin says:

    Hi Brian, Thanks for the kind words.. It wasn’t just me. Most of the coordinates on the map were supplied by many other hunters, dealers, collectors, locals and landowners in WI. They all worked just as hard to gather their own information and were generous enough to share it with everyone. I just compiled the data and gave my opinion on it. They researched, hunted, walked, got blisters, and sore feet too. ;)

    The thanks should also go to all the others!

    Eric

  3. Blob Rana says:

    Nice work.

    BTW, My powers are weak, but I sense that the strewnfield was associated with the Midwest/Wisconsin/Galena/Livingston meteor event witnessed on Thursday, 14th April 2010…

  4. admin says:

    Yes, sorry. :) lol Guess I forgot to include that little tid-bit of helpful information. It is in fact from the WI fireball on April 14th 2010!

    Thanks for the comment!

    Regards,
    Eric

  5. Jeremy says:

    Thanks so much for your work in our part of the state. I live right among your finds and have been an active treasure hunter for years and will continue to be. Out on my adventures if any new finds should be found I will be sure to let you know and the UW Geo Lab in Madison, WI. Thanks Jeremy.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jeremy, Thank you for the comment! If you live right among the finds on the WI Strewnfield map, that means there’s meteorites in your backyard! ;) Most probably… Get out there and find them! they’re there. Send me pics when you find them and I’ll post them…

      Eric

      • Jeremy Wallenkamp says:

        Thx for the reply. I am getting all the reasearch done at this point as we have alot of the white stuff on the ground but has not stopped me from driving the roads. I like to go after the snow and look in the ditch line with my metal detector after the plows have been through because the dig right down to bare ground and I can look that way. I know it sounds insane but this winter is not ending soon enough to get back into the fields and river banks of the mississippi River. I will be sure to let you know of anything and if your in the area again give me a call and see if could meet up. Thanks J in Wis.

  6. Vicky Olds says:

    Great article! I have been looking for more information on this fall. I can’t wait until fall harvest. This meteorite fall has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is so true that you get to meet some cool people while searching for meteorites.

    • admin says:

      Hi Vicky! Great to hear from you again. It was great meeting you in WI on the hunt! Have you found more meteorites?

      Regards,
      Eric

  7. Michele says:

    My son would love to hunt for meteor and is so ready for the fall harvest to go give it a first time try. Does anyone have any informtion that could be helpful for a first time excursion. Or does anyone want to go together?

    • admin says:

      Hi Michele, Well, the map will hopefully be a big help to you and your son. It’s a BIG strewnfield and being able to place yourself in the right area is vitally important. The most helpful information I can give you besides the map that shows most of the meteorites found is, be tenacious and don’t get discouraged.

      Keep in mind most meteorite hunters did not find meteorites. The ones who did stuck it out and with pure determination and experience found their WI meteorites. I hunted with a good friend and he went a whopping 7 days with no finds before he finally found one. They are there! Heck, I didn’t find my first one until 3 hours into my 5th day of hunting!

      Good luck out there!

      Eric

      • Michele says:

        How do I go about and get permission to hunt on the land? I am thinking about going to 80 and 18 hwy area. How do I know when the crops are cleared?

        • Kimberly says:

          The crops are being “cleared” as I write this, and within a week or so most fields should be done!
          Lots of times the best way to get permission is to go to a near-by house and they will either be the owners, or can get you a number to call, and if all else fails stop in at a local gas station in Livingston, Montfort, etc. and see if they can help you identify the land owner. My parents own the “Friendly Place” Mobil in Livingston…ask for Tim/Kristi/Patrick (lil brother)…they know everyone lol! Good Luck!!!

          • admin says:

            @Michele – Talk to the landowners, gain their permission. Just let them know you heard there might be meteorites in their field, and you’d like to take a look. Work out a deal to purchase or split the stone. You’d be surprised how nice folks are.

            @Kimberly – Yeah! Crops should be cleared by now huh? There’s meteorites in them thar fields! Go get’em guys. Talk to the landowners first though… ;) I hear they’re “Friendly” people. Good luck out there! Send me some photos of the finds and we might be able publish them in the magazine.

  8. It’s nice to see a meteorite magazine in full color. I was up there in Livingston, Wisconsin twice to hunt for that meteorite. The first time was 2 days after it fell. I love the maps and the articles about it. You Rock!

  9. John says:

    Beautiful and well written piece!
    I would like to make a trip to the Mifflin area and try my luck. I anticipate many sore muscles and long days. Did your finds occur with a metal detector or just great eyes with a dash of luck ?
    Will “after the harvest” pose any obstacles to a search?

    Thanks,
    John

    • admin says:

      Oooh… You said the “L” word… ;) Read pages 16-17 of MHC magazine. Article written by Mike Miller. http://www.mhcmagazine.com/current-issue/july-2010/

      Yeah there is “some” luck involved. Like the 4th stone I found in Mifflin, WI. My partner and I were walking towards each other about 10-15 crop rows apart. Wind blowing, couldn’t hear a thing. We tried to yell to each other but couldn’t hear a darn thing. So, we both set our drink bottles in the crop row to mark our spots. I walked about 4 steps and wham, there was a gorgeous fully crusted meteorite. Luck? Maybe… But the research we did before that point put us in that field.) True story…

      Mostly it’s hard work, research, lots of walking, more work, more walking, and wham, then you see a meteorite lying on the ground in front of you. You have to put yourself in the right place. Then spend hours and days searching.

  10. Kimberly says:

    Eric,

    I am the daughter of the “Friendly Place” owners and we appreciate the kind words you have for our business and town! Livingston was a buzz the night of the “fireball”, but that was nothing compared to the weeks that followed with the reporters, hunters, & scientist. It was quite exciting! Thanks again and we hope you make it back sometime for some amazing popcorn, “squeaky cheese” (cheese curds), and our bigheartedness!

    Kimberly

    • admin says:

      Hi Kimberly, Thank you and Tim for your hospitality! It was great meeting you guys, and I enjoyed spending my lunches at your store. The Pizza is AWESOME, as are the subs. I think most hunters would agree, we very much appreciate you guys’ “friendly” hospitality! Oh, and the squeaky cheese too. Still delivered on Thursdays? ;)

      Not sure if you read the article I wrote in July’s premiere of my new Meteorite Hunting & Collecting magazine. The cover story is about the fireball. http://www.mhcmagazine.com/

      I do hope to get back up there sometime and do some more hunting. There are still meteorites out there.

      Thanks!

      Eric

  11. Diane says:

    Great site here!

  12. Gary Ratliff says:

    I was wondering if there has been any found outside of this area. I live in Sheboygan County and me and my son are always rock hunting and recently found a few “Weird” rocks. Also do you know any area around us that would be a good place to look?

  13. Tim Jones says:
  14. Chris von Allmen says:

    Me, My wife and our 5 year old boy (at that time) were in Richland Center Wi the day after and my son found 33 pieces totaling about a quarter pound This is the first I have wrote about it. Pretty lucky find huh. Especially when we live 1100 miles away on the Gulf Coast.

  15. Chris von Allmen says:

    I forgot to mention that our pieces have alot of burnt crust on them. What does this mean? Does it help tell what part of the big piece they came from? And also This is not a joke we really did find that many and the next time we are up that way I am going to metal detect the area because I know there is much more from the concentration we found. At that point I will give G.P.S. tag for youre map. Thanks

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