Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Striking it rich by accident

By
From page A1 | May 11, 2012 |

MITCH CAREY, 49, of Shingle Springs, left, holds a 35.1 gram piece of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, while Al "Thunder" Bayless, 60, of Tonopah, Nevada holds a 3/4 of an ounce nugget found recently in the Lotus area. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

MITCH CAREY, 49, of Shingle Springs, left, holds a 35.1 gram piece of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, while Al "Thunder" Bayless, 60, of Tonopah, Nevada holds a 3/4 of an ounce nugget found recently in the Lotus area. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

The Coloma-Lotus area seems to be a very lucky place for all kinds of treasure hunters.

For Mitch Carey of Shingle Springs, it came by accident when he was thinning out the poison oak on his property in Lotus last Saturday. He looked down and noticed what looked like a piece of charcoal. After checking it out, he learned he had stumbled on a 35.1 gram piece of the Sutter’s Mill Meteor.

Carey sent a picture of his find to Dr. Peter Jenniskens at the SETI Institute. It was then he learned that not only did he find the largest piece to date, but that his find has been identified as the main mass of the meteor.

Al Bayless of Tonopah, Nev., aka “Thunder,” also found a treasure by accident. He was in the county doing construction work when he decided to make the trip to Lotus to hunt for meteor fragments. Instead he says he struck gold — literally. While out hunting with a metal detector in Lotus on April 28, his detector started making a lot of noise. “It was registering in the gold range,” he said.

When he washed off what he thought was a clump of dirt, what he found underneath was three-fourths of an ounce of crystalline gold. A friend of his confirmed the find and told him to encase it in a glass dome to protect the fragile nugget. Now he thinks the nugget may have come from a vein of gold in the area.

So don’t give up if you don’t find any meteor fragments. There may be a gold nugget out there with your name on it.

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