John Evans and the Lost Port Orford Meteorite Hoax: The Port Orford, Oregon, Meteorite Mystery

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A historical study of the lost Port Orford meteorite that "presents previously unreported evidence that indicates [John] Evans was ill-trained for his scientific field work ... and that he had amassed a staggering personal debt by consistently overspending his budget. Most startling of all, Plotkin's research led him to the inescapable conclusion that Evans had acquired a small but very rare piece of meteorite, and had hatched a clever scheme whereby he could use it to turn around his financial affairs." Plotkin also attempts to establish the true identity of the meteoritic sample, and contends that it is a fragment of "Imilac, a Chilean pallasit discovered in 1820-1822."


  • Evans, John
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes notes and illustrations.

Contained within

Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences Vol. 31 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Meteorites
  • Meteoritics
  • Controversies

Physical description

pp. 1-24

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