Keyes Meteorite

Keyes Meteorite
Official Name: Keyes Meteorite
Synonym: Boise City Meteorite
Location: Cimarron County, Oklahoma, United States
Coordinates: 36° 43' N/ 102° 30' W
Find or Fall: Find (i.e., it was not an observed fall)
Date of Discovery: 1939
Recovered Weight: 142 kg (312 lbs.)
Meteorite Group: L
Petrologic Type: 6
Meteorite Type Name: Ordinary Chondrite (Stony Meteorite)
Estimated Impact (years before present): 11,500
Other Notable Facts: 1 of 40 official meteorites from Oklahoma, United States


The Keyes Meteorite was originally discovered in the summer of 1939 by a student of the University of Oklahoma when his plow hit the meteorite while disking his grandfather’s field to prepare for planting wheat. It was not until he was about 100 yards down the field that he realized that the hit made a metallic sound and that he might have hit a meteorite. As soon as he realized this, he stopped and walked back to investigate but could not find what the plow had struck. The next year while plowing, recalling the incident, he immediately stopped when he heard the metallic hit and discovered what he thought was a meteorite. It was apparently quite old, as it was broken and scattered by the many years plowing and it was in three large fragments (23 kg/50 lbs., 27 kg/60 lbs. and 68 kg/150 lbs.) and several smaller fragments (less than a fraction of an ounce each). The total weight of recovered fragments was 142 kg/312 lbs.

The student and his grandfather (who was a county agent in Cimarron County, Oklahoma) thought it was a meteorite, so on July 23, 1940, a fragment was brought to the Stovall Museum of Science and History (now the Sam Noble Museum) for confirmation of the meteorite identification via chemical and physical examination. Museum scientists confirmed it was indeed a meteorite that the student found.

Reassembly of all the large fragments and many of the smaller pieces was possible based on excellent fit of the pieces and continuity of surface features. The Keyes Meteorite was donated to the Stovall Museum of Science and History where C. A. Merritt and J. W. Stovall wrote the first technical history and scientifically acknowledged published description of it in December 1948 in the museum publication "The Museum of the University of Oklahoma Information Series Circular."