Port Orford Meteorite Hoax
Port Orford meteorite
Class Pallasite
Country United States
Region Oregon
Coordinates 42°48?N 124°06?W / 42.800°N 124.100°W / 42.800; -124.100Coordinates: 42°48?N 124°06?W / 42.800°N 124.100°W / 42.800; -124.100[1]
Observed fall No
Found date 1856 (claimed)
TKW 28 g[2]
10-11 short tons (9,100-10,000 kg) (estimated, claimed)[3]
Letter from John Evans discussing a "meteor" discovered on Bald Mountain in Oregon, dated November 25, 1859

The Port Orford meteorite hoax concerns a 19th-century claimed meteorite discovery near Port Orford, Oregon in 1856. The meteorite has attracted the interest of meteorite hunters,[2] with a value reported as high as $300 million.[4]

Claimed discovery

Dr. John Evans (a medical doctor), government-appointed geologist working for the United States Department of the Interior, claimed to have found a 10-ton (10,000 kg) pallasite meteorite in coastal Oregon (then Oregon Territory) on a "bald mountain" above Port Orford in 1856. Evans returned a sample to the East Coast but he died in 1861 before the discovery could be corroborated.[5][4]


It has been reported as a hoax, with modern metallurgical and other analysis showing that a 28 gram specimen[2] collected by Evans was actually part of the Imilac Chilean meteorite of 1822 and probably acquired by him in Panama on his return to the United States East Coast.[5][6] The mountain of Evans' claimed find has been tentatively identified as Johnson Mountain from Evans' reports and field notes; surveys of the area with sensitive proton magnetometers in the 1980s failed to show evidence of a nickel-rich meteorite there.[7]



  1. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 10.
  2. ^ a b c Pruett 2012.
  3. ^ Clarke 1993, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b John 2011.
  5. ^ a b Clarke 2006.
  6. ^ LaLande 2016.
  7. ^ Clarke 1993, pp. 7-11.


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