I trudged over to his find and was immediately thrilled by what I saw. A meteorite with true black fusion crust, not too big, maybe 100 grams, but quite fresh, as if fallen just a couple of decades ago. The crust was chipped at a few places and only on the grey matrix underneath there was some oxidation. It was Peter’s first chondrite!
Elevated we returned to the evening camp, where another ceremony was held, in which Peter was promoted from apprentice to “Aventurero” and given the appropriate patch. In addition, we awarded him the title “Don” and from now on referred to him as “Don Pedro de Atacama.” Our offering stone was put to use once more and under Sergey’s guidance the meteorite goods received their fair share of spirited beverages, carots and beans.
After three days in the Sierra del Muerto, we had become quite familiar with the valleys and hills and there was hardly an acre of searchable surface that was not cut by a pair of tracks or zig-zagging footprints. Yet we still found meteorites. In average about three finds per car and day. The tracks, even our own ones, had little significance in terms of whether a place was searched out. In the beginning, the tracks had made us think that an area with lots of them was dry. Now, in this stage of the search, we completely ignored the tracks or even took it as a challenge to find meteorites close to or right next to them, which we succeeded in several times.
During the long hours of the search, we had made it a sport to derive fundamental principles of meteorite searching and named them the “The book of wisdoms of Don Pedro de Atacama.” “Thou shalt not believe the tracks, for they want deceive thou,” became one of our favorites. Another one was “Thou shalt not search the riverbed, for it will eat up time and tires.” From this last one we soon had to make an exception. It was after we had searched the place of Don Pedro’s first find for another half a day, when I navigated the Hilux into a debris plain that made up the eastern extension of the valley. Searching between the big rocks of various colors was very exhausting for the eyes, and for this reason we limited excursions into the rock fields to an hour or less. On the return leg, I crossed a small arroyo and just in the middle of it Peter said “stop!” and jumped out.