February 2003, Lesotho

This is one of the newest recovered falls! The Thuathe meteorite fell in Lesotho near the capital of Maseru on the 21st of July, 2002 at 3:49 pm. Explosions were heard and felt over most of the country of Lesotho and part of south Africa. The day was 80% clouded and most people were unable to see the fireball, but some saw the flash and smoke trail through breaks in the clouds. Scientists from the National university in Roma heard the fall as it passed overhead. they interviewed students returning from winter break and narrowed the fall to Western Lesotho or across the Orange river into South Africa. Then at the middle of August, the local police report was issued for the month. In it was a story titled "Star falls on Thuathe". It was police reports about people complaining that someone had thrown stones at them from out of the sky! The report led the scientists to the villages where the stones fell and immediately start buying and finding stones.

Eric Olson and I traveled to Lesotho on February 22 and over the next 5 days we recovered several kilos of meteorites by buying them from the local people. We also visited David Ambrose at the University of Lesotho and I even got some of the stones that the University collected, along with all data to go with them. The people of Lesotho were wonderful, we had a blast and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip except for a very unfortunate bout with the sun, which I lost.

So far over 1000 stones have been found, the largest shown here weighs 2,387 grams. The total estimated weight recovered is near ~33 kilograms, with at least 1000 individuals. This was a significant meteorite shower.

This was a very successful meteorite fall chase.

Most of the stones weighed in the 2 to 200 gram range and are very metal-rich, with silver metal appearing all over through the black fusion crust.
Thuathe Main mass 2,387 grams.
Above is a photo from the top of the Thuathe Plateau, looking down on the Village of Ha Boqate. Most of the stones fell on the top of the plateau, but many fell below in the valley, raining down on people's houses and in gardens.
The above is a woman who found a small 20 gram stone while working in the cabbage field. I bought the stone and she happily posed for a photograph with her find
Above is a photo of myself in front of traditional Sotho houses in the village of Ha Boqate
Photos of me and the village children of Ha Ralimo. They are all holding pens that I gave them. The children were very good meteorite hunters. They found most of the meteorites after the fall.
Above are some of the local wildlife, Ostriches are very important for the local people, who use their eggs and feathers for food and making crafts, the meat for food. I nearly died of heatstroke due to my own excitement. I separated from the rest of the group and did not take a hat or water, not a very smart thing to do in Africa or anywhere for that matter. The third degree sunburn that I got on my head that day made the rest of my trip very painful!
Above are photos of Thuathe meteorites and the money we used to buy them from the finders.
This lucky woman and her baby found a beautiful ~300 gram stone near the pond in the background. We paid her enough money for that stone to live on for a year! Eric Olson now has the stone in his private collection.