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Meteorite hasn't been seen since 1856

Since you asked

The Port Orford Meteor sounds like a train, but I don't think it was. Any history?

' Norrie J., Talent

In 1856, John Evans, a geologist for the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, was exploring the Coquille and Umpqua rivers. He reported finding a large, valuable meteorite, which he claimed was near the summit of a bald mountain. It became known as the Port Orford Meteorite. It hasn't been seen since, kind of like all those lost mines scattered around the West.

It's never been clear just what Evans meant by bald, since there are no mountains at the coast comparable to, say, a Mount McLoughlin or a Mount Hood.

Meteorites are pieces of interplanetary bodies that survive their plunge to Earth. They range in makeup from iron-nickel to stone made up mainly of silicates. Some consisting mainly of serpentine even contain amino acids ' building blocks of life ' from space.

If you want to search for Evans' meteorite, see his journals at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland and at Lewis and Clark College. Happy hunting.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to