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Arkansas Meteorite: A Celestial Phenomenon Explained

By GZR News on June 17, 2024

Arkansas has long been a hotspot for meteorite enthusiasts and scientists alike. From historic falls to modern-day hunts, the state offers a rich tapestry of celestial phenomena. This article delves into some of the most intriguing meteorite events in Arkansas, exploring their discovery, significance, and the people who dedicate their lives to studying these extraterrestrial visitors.

Key Takeaways

  • Arkansas is home to several notable meteorite events, including the historic Cabin Creek meteorite of 1886 and the colossal Paragould meteorite of 1930.
  • The University of Arkansas houses an impressive collection of meteorites, contributing to ongoing research and educational initiatives.
  • Steve Arnold, a renowned meteorite hunter based in Arkansas, has a unique meteorite store in Eureka Springs, the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Meteorite hunting in Arkansas is a popular activity, with several hotspots and techniques that enthusiasts use to find these celestial treasures.
  • Meteorites have not only scientific significance but also cultural and historical importance, influencing local folklore, art, and even popular culture.

The Historic Cabin Creek Meteorite of 1886

Eyewitness Accounts

On March 27, 1886, at precisely 3:17 p.m., the skies over Johnson County, Arkansas, were torn apart by a tremendous noise. Mrs. Christopher Shandy, at home near Cabin Creek, described it as far louder than any thunder she’d ever heard. The noise was so intense that it was heard 75 miles away, and teams of horses 25 miles distant ran off, spooked by the sound. People were alarmed far beyond the Shandy farm.

Scientific Analysis

The Cabin Creek meteorite, as it’s now known, was a significant celestial event. The initial piece discovered weighed 820 pounds and created a crater 9 feet deep, throwing dirt 100 yards in every direction. This massive extraterrestrial object required five able-bodied men and a team of horses to extricate it. The meteorite is now recognized as the second-largest to be recovered in North America.

Legacy and Impact

The impact of the Cabin Creek meteorite extended beyond its immediate physical effects. It sparked curiosity and scientific interest, leading to further studies and discussions about meteorites. The event is still remembered today, with stories and analyses featured in various media, including shows like Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis. The meteorite’s legacy continues to influence our understanding of celestial phenomena and their effects on Earth.

The noise it made when it struck the earth’s atmosphere on the 27th of March and came whizzing to earth … will never be forgotten.

The Paragould Meteorite: A Colossal Celestial Visitor

Illustration of the Paragould Meteorite streaking across the Arkansas sky at dusk, highlighting its celestial journey.

Discovery and Recovery

In 1930, the small town of Paragould, Arkansas, experienced a phenomenal event. A massive meteorite, weighing a whopping 820 pounds, crashed into the area. This meteorite is one of the largest ever recovered in the United States. The Paragould Meteorite’s discovery was a significant moment for both the town and the scientific community. Locals and scientists alike were eager to get their hands on this celestial treasure. The meteorite was eventually recovered and has since become a point of pride for Paragould.

Physical Characteristics

The Paragould Meteorite is not just notable for its size but also for its unique physical characteristics. It is composed mainly of iron, with traces of nickel and other metals. This composition makes it incredibly dense and heavy. The meteorite’s surface is marked with regmaglypts, which are thumbprint-like indentations formed as it traveled through the Earth’s atmosphere. These features make the Paragould Meteorite a fascinating subject of study for scientists and enthusiasts alike.

Cultural Significance

The Paragould Meteorite holds a special place in the hearts of the local community. It has been featured in numerous local legends and stories, adding a layer of mystique to its already impressive scientific credentials. The meteorite is currently on display at the Greene County Museum, where it attracts visitors from all over. This celestial visitor has not only contributed to scientific knowledge but has also become a cultural icon for Paragould. The meteorite’s presence has even inspired local events and educational programs, making it a cornerstone of the community’s identity.

The Paragould Meteorite is said to be billions of years old, so I can understand the fascination behind this ancient rock. My only hope is that the meteorite can remain in Paragould where it truly belongs.


  • Phenomenal event in 1930
  • Unique physical characteristics
  • Cultural icon for Paragould

Fayetteville’s Meteorite Encounter of 1934

Event Description

In late 1934, Fayetteville experienced a spectacular meteorite encounter. Several interplanetary chunks blasted through the mid-day skies and landed near town. Two pieces were recovered: one weighing over 5 pounds and the other nearly a quarter of a pound. The larger piece was found at the bottom of a 20-inch crater, still warm from its turbulent trip through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Meteorite Composition

The recovered meteorites were analyzed and found to contain a mix of iron and nickel, common in many meteorites. These elements suggest that the meteorites originated from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The unique composition of these meteorites has made them valuable for scientific research.

Current Display

Both meteorite pieces are housed in the University of Arkansas Museum collections. Visitors can view these celestial objects and learn more about their journey to Earth. The museum provides detailed information about the meteorites’ composition and the significance of their discovery.

Did you know? The larger meteorite was found at the bottom of a 20-inch crater, still warm from its turbulent trip through the Earth’s atmosphere.

For those interested in more celestial phenomena, tune into Ground Zero Radio for fascinating discussions on meteorites and other space-related topics.

Meteorite Hunting in Arkansas: A Thrilling Pursuit

Meteorite hunting in Arkansas is an exhilarating adventure that combines science, nature, and a bit of luck. Imagine finding a piece of the cosmos right in your backyard! Let’s dive into the best spots, tools, and some notable finds in the Natural State.

Popular Hunting Spots

Arkansas may not be the top state for meteorite rockhounding, but it still offers some promising locations. The open fields and farmlands are ideal, as they provide a clear view of the ground. Avoid dense forests and rough mountains; they make the search much harder. Remember, meteorites can fall anywhere, but some places are just better for recovery.

Tools and Techniques

To get started, you’ll need a few essential tools:

  • Metal Detector: Most meteorites contain iron, making them detectable.
  • Magnets: Handy for checking if a rock is magnetic, a common trait of meteorites.
  • GPS Device: Helps you mark spots and navigate large areas.
  • Field Notebook: Keep track of your finds and observations.

When you’re out in the field, scan the ground carefully and use your metal detector to pick up any signals. Once you find a potential meteorite, use your magnet to see if it sticks. If it does, you might have found something special!

Notable Finds

Arkansas has had its share of exciting meteorite discoveries. One of the most famous is the Paragould Meteorite, a colossal celestial visitor that made headlines. Another notable find is the Cabin Creek Meteorite, which has a fascinating history and significant scientific value.

Meteorite hunting is not just about the thrill of the find; it’s about connecting with everything out there in the universe. Each meteorite tells a story billions of years in the making.

So, grab your gear and head out. Who knows? You might just stumble upon a piece of the cosmos!

Steve Arnold: Arkansas’ Renowned Meteorite Hunter

Steve Arnold is a name that resonates with meteorite enthusiasts around the world. As a professional meteorite hunter, he has visited most of the continents in search of these elusive treasures. His passion and dedication have made him a prominent figure in the field.


Steve’s journey into meteorite hunting began in his youth. Fascinated by the night sky and the mysteries it held, he pursued a career that combined his love for adventure and science. Over the years, he has become one of the most successful meteorite hunters, with numerous significant finds to his name.

Major Expeditions

Steve’s expeditions are nothing short of legendary. From the icy terrains of Antarctica to the arid deserts of Africa, he has braved extreme conditions to recover meteorites. His most notable expedition was in 2005 when he discovered a massive 1,400-pound meteorite in Kansas. This find was a testament to his skill and determination.

Meteorite Store in Eureka Springs

If you’re ever in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a visit to Steve’s meteorite store is a must. It’s the only brick-and-mortar meteorite store in the Western Hemisphere. Here, you can find a variety of meteorite specimens, each with its own unique story. It’s a place where the wonders of the cosmos are brought down to Earth, offering a tangible connection to the universe.

Steve Arnold’s story is a reminder of the ongoing threat of asteroid impacts and the importance of vigilance and preparedness. His work encourages us to look up at the sky with a sense of wonder and curiosity, knowing that there are still many mysteries waiting to be uncovered.

Meteorites and the University of Arkansas

Collection Highlights

The University of Arkansas boasts an impressive collection of meteorite specimens. Among the most notable are the pieces from the Fayetteville meteorite encounter of 1934. These specimens, including one found at the bottom of a 20-inch crater, are proudly displayed in the University of Arkansas Museum.

Research Initiatives

Our university is at the forefront of meteorite research. We delve into the composition and origins of these celestial visitors. Cutting-edge techniques are employed to analyze meteorites, providing insights into the early solar system. Our research not only advances science but also inspires students and the community.

Educational Programs

We offer a range of educational programs focused on meteorites. From hands-on workshops to guest lectures, there’s something for everyone. These programs aim to ignite a passion for space and science in students of all ages. Whether you’re a budding scientist or just curious, our programs make learning about meteorites fun and engaging.

The spooky symphony of space: unraveling astronaut encounters and cosmic mysteries. Explore eerie space encounters, cosmic enigmas, and dark matter mysteries in the vast universe.

The Science Behind Meteorites

Formation and Composition

Meteorites are ancient travelers from space, some dating back 4.5 billion years. They originate from asteroids and comets, and their journey to Earth is a fascinating process. When a meteoroid enters our atmosphere, it encounters friction, causing it to burn up and create a streak of light known as a meteor. If it survives this fiery descent and lands on Earth, it becomes a meteorite. These space rocks are composed of various materials, including metals and silicates, which provide clues about the early solar system.

Types of Meteorites

Meteorites are classified into three main types: stony, iron, and stony-iron. Stony meteorites, the most common, are made primarily of silicate minerals. Iron meteorites consist mostly of metallic iron-nickel, making them very dense. Stony-iron meteorites are a mix of both, containing significant amounts of metal and silicate. Each type offers unique insights into the building blocks of our solar system.

Impact on Earth

Meteorites have had a profound impact on Earth, both literally and figuratively. Large meteorite impacts have shaped our planet’s history, creating craters and even influencing climate and life. For instance, the impact that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a massive meteorite. Studying these impacts helps us understand Earth’s geological history and the potential threats from future celestial visitors.

Meteorites are not just space debris; they are time capsules that offer a glimpse into the early solar system and the processes that shaped our planet.

Meteorite Myths and Legends in Arkansas

Folklore and Stories

Arkansas is rich with folklore surrounding meteorites. One popular tale involves a meteorite that supposedly granted wishes to those who touched it. Locals would travel miles just to make their dreams come true. Another story tells of a meteorite that landed in a farmer’s field, causing his crops to grow twice as large. These stories add a magical touch to the scientific phenomenon of meteorites.

Historical Misconceptions

Historically, people had many misconceptions about meteorites. Some believed they were pieces of the moon that had fallen to Earth. Others thought they were divine messages or omens. One of the most persistent myths was that meteorites were hot when they landed, capable of starting fires. In reality, meteorites are usually cold upon impact.

Modern Interpretations

Today, we have a better understanding of meteorites, but myths still persist. Some people believe that meteorites have healing properties or can bring good luck. While there’s no scientific evidence to support these claims, the allure of meteorites continues to captivate our imaginations.

The blend of science and myth makes meteorites endlessly fascinating. Let’s support more articles like this to keep exploring these celestial wonders.

The Role of Meteorites in Popular Culture

Meteorites have crashed into our screens for decades. From the classic 1950s sci-fi flicks to modern blockbusters like “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact,” these celestial rocks have been a source of fascination and fear. They symbolize the unknown and the uncontrollable forces of nature. TV shows like “The X-Files” and “Doctor Who” have also featured meteorites, often as harbingers of alien life or mysterious phenomena.

In literature, meteorites have inspired countless stories and novels. H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” begins with a meteorite crash, setting the stage for an alien invasion. Jules Verne also explored the concept in his works. More recently, books like “The Book of Strange New Things” by Michel Faber have used meteorites as pivotal plot devices, blending science fiction with deep human emotions.

Meteorites have even found their way into the art world. Museums around the globe, including the Smithsonian and the Natural History Museum in London, have dedicated exhibits showcasing these space rocks. Artists have also used meteorites in their work, creating sculptures and installations that capture the imagination. These exhibitions not only display the meteorites but also educate the public about their scientific and cultural significance.

Meteorites are more than just space debris; they are storytellers, bridging the gap between science and art, reality and imagination.

For those interested in the paranormal, shows like “Into the Parabnormal with Jeremy Scott” often delve into the mysterious aspects of meteorites, exploring their potential connections to unexplained phenomena.

How to Identify a Meteorite: Tips for Amateur Enthusiasts

Visual Clues

First off, let’s talk about what you can see. Meteorites often have a dark, burnt-looking exterior called a fusion crust. This is due to the intense heat they experience while entering Earth’s atmosphere. Look for a smooth, rounded surface with shallow pits, known as regmaglypts. These features are key indicators that you might be holding a piece of space rock.

Magnetic Properties

Most meteorites contain a significant amount of iron, making them magnetic. Grab a magnet and see if it sticks. If it does, you might be in luck! However, remember that not all magnetic rocks are meteorites, so this is just one test among many.

Professional Verification

When in doubt, consult an expert. Universities, like the University of Arkansas, often have collections and experts who can help you verify your find. You can also reach out to organizations like the American Meteor Society for guidance.

Finding a meteorite is thrilling, but proper identification is crucial. Don’t rely solely on one method; use a combination of visual clues, magnetic properties, and expert advice to confirm your discovery.

Happy hunting, and may you find your very own piece of the cosmos!

Meteorite Showers: When and Where to Watch in Arkansas

Arkansas offers a front-row seat to some of the most spectacular meteor showers each year. The Perseids, peaking in mid-August, are a crowd favorite due to their high frequency and bright meteors. The Geminids, in mid-December, are another must-see, known for their multi-colored displays. Mark your calendars for these annual celestial events!

For the best meteorite viewing experience, head to areas with minimal light pollution. The Ozark National Forest and the Buffalo National River are top picks. These spots offer dark skies and open spaces, perfect for stargazing. Don’t forget to bring a blanket and some snacks!

Arkansas hosts several astronomy events throughout the year. The Arkansas Sky Observers often organize meet-ups during major meteor showers. Check out local events on platforms like “The Secret Teachings with Ryan Gable” for more information. These gatherings are a great way to learn and share the experience with fellow enthusiasts.

Watching a meteor shower is a magical experience. The dark skies of Arkansas provide the perfect backdrop for these celestial displays. Grab your friends, find a dark spot, and enjoy the show!

Experience the awe of meteorite showers in Arkansas and never miss a celestial event again! Visit our website to discover the best times and locations for viewing these spectacular displays. Join our community and gain exclusive access to in-depth articles, podcasts, and videos that will enhance your stargazing experience.


The Arkansas Meteorite phenomenon is a captivating chapter in the state’s rich history, blending science, mystery, and a touch of cosmic wonder. From the massive Paragould Meteorite to the intriguing specimens housed at the University of Arkansas, these celestial visitors have left an indelible mark on the region. Whether you’re a seasoned meteorite hunter like Steve Arnold or a curious observer, the stories of these space rocks offer a fascinating glimpse into the universe beyond our planet. As we continue to explore and understand these extraterrestrial objects, one thing remains clear: Arkansas’ skies have a unique way of reminding us of the vastness and beauty of the cosmos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cabin Creek Meteorite?

The Cabin Creek Meteorite is a meteorite that crashed near Cabin Creek, now known as Lamar, in Johnson County, Arkansas, on March 27, 1886. It is notable for the loud noise it produced, which was louder than any thunder heard by witnesses.

How was the Paragould Meteorite discovered?

The Paragould Meteorite was discovered in 1930 after it struck the small town of Paragould, Arkansas. Weighing 820 pounds, it is one of the largest observed meteorites recovered in the United States.

What happened during Fayetteville’s Meteorite Encounter of 1934?

In late 1934, several meteorite fragments blasted through the skies of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Two pieces were recovered, one weighing over 5 pounds and the other nearly a quarter of a pound. Both are now housed in the University of Arkansas Museum collections.

Where can I see meteorites in Arkansas?

Meteorites can be viewed at the University of Arkansas Museum, which houses collections including those from the Fayetteville encounter of 1934.

Who is Steve Arnold?

Steve Arnold is a renowned meteorite hunter from Arkansas. He has traveled to most continents in search of meteorites and runs a meteorite store in Eureka Springs, the only brick-and-mortar meteorite store in the Western Hemisphere.

What tools are needed for meteorite hunting?

Meteorite hunting typically requires tools such as metal detectors, magnets, GPS devices, and sometimes specialized digging equipment to locate and recover meteorite fragments.

Are there any popular meteorite hunting spots in Arkansas?

While Arkansas is not the top location for finding meteorites due to its wet climate and vast forests, there are still several popular hunting spots. Specific locations are often shared among the meteorite hunting community.

How can I identify a meteorite?

To identify a meteorite, look for visual clues such as a fusion crust, regmaglypts (thumbprint-like depressions), and a high density. Meteorites are also often magnetic and may require professional verification for confirmation.

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