The Guffey Meteorite

The Guffey MeteoriteThe largest meteorite ever recovered in Colorado is the 310 kg (682 pound) Guffey meteorite. It was found in 1907 in the hills near Guffey by two cowboys, Robert Pope and J.T. Witcher. The exact location of the find is uncertain, but historical evidence has allowed two probable areas to be identified. The original mass measured 913 mm long by 375 mm high by 200 mm wide. The cowboys apparently thought they had found a huge silver nugget, and were able somehow to get it out of the mountains and down into Cripple Creek. It was then sold to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it was transported by train. The majority of the meteorite remains in New York, but a slice was recently acquired by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The meteorite is an uncommon type of nickel-iron called an ataxite. Most iron meteorites can be etched with a weak acid to reveal a crystal pattern called the Widmanstätten structure. The Guffey does not show this structure. Visually, it very much resembles stainless steel.

(c) American Museum of Natural HistoryThe shape of the original body strongly suggests that it broke into at least two large pieces during its descent. Many of us around Guffey like to think that there is at least one other large piece of this beautiful iron in the area waiting to be found.


© Copyright 2002, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.