Aguas Zarcas expeditions May - July 2019
Nearly a month to the week of the Aguas Zarcas fall on April 23rd at 21:08 of 2019, Ily Fisher and myself (Raymond Borges) visited Costa Rica's newest meteorite strewnfield to purchase meteorites and gather intel on find locations. We planned to meet up with a local, Brayan Araya, whom was recommended to us by Roberto Vargas (a fellow meteorite hunter) to sell us some of his finds in person but primarily to be our guide and chauffeur.
Brayan, an engineering student, was only able to help us out on 3 days of the trip being busy with school. But his help was incredibly valuable. Having grown up in the area he knew the location very well and we connected and became close friends in our time together.
First things first we met up with Brayan at the airport where he accompanied us to pick up our rental car and drive us the two hours to the strewnfield area to check into our hotel and meet up with some locals who had meteorites waiting for us. Before we headed out we stopped at the mall to pick up a few things and purchased his smallest meteorite find, a 14g oriented individual, in the car.
Brayan had made his find on public land close to some large radio antennas. He told us about people cutting down grass because the cleared areas had already been extensively searched by the nearby farmers and their families. We asked he take us to the find location to take pictures in-situ which we later did. After the purchase we were on our way.
The 190g puzzle
Brayan spent many days walking the fields on his school break. He came to an agreement with some of his friends to search together and split the finds. They went to a few farms and asked for permission to hunt the land and split the finds 50/50 with the land owners.
After weeks of searching his group found a handful of finds, one of them being this gorgeous fusion-crusted blue-iridescent 190g five-piece puzzle. The puzzle as pictured below consists of 5 pieces with 3 larger ones and 2 much smaller ones all purchased directly from the owner of the farm by our team.
One of the most successfully hunted locations with many finds was the dairy farm pictured below and it was here where the 190g puzzle find was discovered (trampled on by a cow most likely). Here, along with many others in the hundreds of grams, likely totaling in the kilograms. The pictures below were shot with a Mavic 2 Zoom drone from several hundred feet above the ground only for the purpose of documentation. We do plan to return for a follow-up trip to hunt some farms we have obtained permission to hunt as well as a few public areas.
Rocky the meteorite dog
The dairy farm location was also where the now-famous dog house was hit. The dog belongs to the owners of said farm. We were fortunate enough to take some pictures and purchase some specimens from the owners, including Brayan's amazing 190g puzzle piece. Rocky's house being one of only 3 known impacted structures of this fall which included a house, which gained notoriety from many local and international news sources, the dog house and thirdly, the Salon Comunal Juan Rafael Rojas Quiros/Amalia Kopper Dodero. Below, as you can see, the dog was apparently not hurt at all. We also took DJI RE Googles which we had Brayan try out.
Buying from the locals
Over the course of the next few days we rode around town house-to-house asking about meteorites. We were fortunate enough to find plenty of material to select from and also educate some people that were still out hunting. We also had the pleasure of meeting a secondary meteorite hunting team which included Michael Farmer, Greg Hupe and Morritz Karl. They kept saying it was all over and very little material was going to be found yet we encountered them literally every single day of our trip except the last because their flight had left. As seen below many people of all ages are still hunting.
We were directed to go to a pulperia or colmado in Puertorican spanish (small town store) that the owner had amassed a substantial amount of rocks from the community folk and had also found a number of meteorites himself, as well as his wife, Jovanny (as seen above), and his son Joan, as seen below. Once we showed up and made the initial purchase 3 other locals showed up and offered to sell us there finds as well. One invited us back to his house to hunt and look over his finds. So we bought what we could and followed him to his house.
The third hammerstone
On the first day of our expedition Brayan mentioned a building we passed being hit by one of the meteorites. It was getting dark as the sun sets rather early here but we made the stop. We took some initial pictures as seen below but it wasn't really possible to get a shot from the top without climbing on top so we took a few pictures and carried on with our hunt.
Bottom of the panel
A few days later past midway into our trip we noticed someone renovating other parts of the building but apparently the panel with the hole was still there being ignored. So we stopped and asked him for information regarding who to contact to use the space. After getting a few contacts names we finally got in contact with the person who managed it. We made him an offer for the repair of that section of panel and a donation to the organization which administers the building in exchange for the old panel. He accepted and the last day of our trip we were able to obtain the panel. Almost simultaneously we became aware of a meteorite specimen very likely to have impacted the structure with green paint markings and about the right size. We moved very quickly to acquire as much as we could. The seller told us that the stone had been found approximately one day after the fall by the people doing the renovations. This meteorite hammer fragments was by far the most expensive purchase by gram of the trip. All in all it was a great first successful expedition. We had attempted a few others in the past without any recoveries but this trip was not one of those times. Costa Rica, we will see you again soon.
Thanks for reading. Keep on chasing fireballs and collecting meteorites my friends!