Today, the California Fractional Gold Quarter Dollar Coin remembers the gold-coated meteorite found in Calaveras County 126 years ago.
From Science: A Weekly Newspaper of All the Arts and Sciences, of January 29, 1892:
— A despatch to the New York Tribune, dated San Francisco, Jan. 24, states that H. W. Turner, a geologist of Washington, D. C., who for two years past, under the auspices of the California Division of Mining Geology, has been exploring the gold regions of the Sierras, arrived there the day before.
Mr. Turner obtained from a gulch at Cave City, Calaveras County, a meteoric stone that will excite no little interest in the scientific world.
It is almost as large as one’s fist, and around a good portion of it is a solid film of gold. In one place the gold shows for about an inch square.
Hitherto, in all discoveries, no meteoric iron has been found in connection with gold.
“It demonstrates,” Mr. Turner says, ” that there is gold in the worlds of space from which meteoric iron has fallen. The specimen will be boxed and sent to Washington. Other pieces will probably be forwarded from Calaveras. I have examined it very carefully. It is extremely tough, and it is almost impossible to break it. In my opinion it has fallen from one of the stars. This demonstrates that there is gold in some of the stars, at least. I shall send this piece to the Smithsonian Institution.”
Another publication intimated that the gold could have attached to the meteorite after it landed on the earth.
From the Cyclopedic Review of Current History published in 1893:
Geologist H. W. Turner, of Washington, D. C., has found a meteorite near Cave City, Calaveras County, California, which contains gold.
Hitherto no meteoric iron has been discovered in connection with gold.
But Professor Kunz, another geologist, says that gold has a remarkable affinity for iron, and that frequently shovels, nails, etc., used in old placer mines, have been found coated with the precious metal. The meteorite, he says, was coated in the same way.
Another periodical repeated some of the information but went on to suggest broader conclusions based on the gold coated meteorite.
From Stone of June 1892:
Gold in a Meteoric Stone.
Geologist H. W. Turner, of Washington, D. C, who, for two years past, under the auspices of the California Division of Mining Geology, has been exploring the gold regions of the Sierras, recently obtained from a gulch at Cave City, Calaveras county, a meteoric stone that will create no little interest in the scientific world.
It is about as large as one’s fist, and around a good portion of it is a solid film of gold. In one place the gold shows for about an inch square of surface.
Hitherto in all the discoveries of the world no meteoric iron has been found in connection with gold.
It demonstrates, Mr. Turner says, that there is gold in the worlds of space from which the meteor has fallen.
The above, from the San Francisco Examiner, is a curious corroboration of the evidence that has been accumulating in favor of a cosmical origin of earthy matter.
In an earlier issue Stone presented recorded instances where meteors contained diamonds.
The commonest metallic constituents of meteors are iron, nickel, cobalt, carburet of iron and gaseous hydrogen in great volume.
Spectroscopic analysis indicates that the star Aldebaran contains much gold, and despite the view of Mr. Turner, which in its roundabout travel, we may have misunderstood, the evidence is accumulating in favor of the unity of the matter that composes the universe — a conclusion that theoretical considerations of the conservation of force renders most probable.
The California Fractional Gold Quarter Dollar Coin shows with a modern image of a meteorite.