About Us

Southwest Meteorite Laboratory is a small business owned and operated by Marvin and Kitty Killgore in Payson, Arizona. Science, research and education are our mission as we provide meteorites to researchers, teachers, museums and collectors worldwide.

In our pursuit of meteorites, since 1990, we have strived to balance the preservation of meteorites for the scientific community and the supply of specimens for private collectors. Over all we have found meteorites to be a great investment not only for ourselves but for our customers and the scientific community. The distribution of meteorites has funded our research and we are contributors to public institutions. There are many more meteorites available for researchers because of people like us who go out into the field and find new meteorites. Our drive to discover new meteorites and the knowledge that comes with them has dominated our business. It has been a very gratifying pursuit which was born out of our early endeavors.

A Personal History

Marvin's knowledge of mineralogy and prospecting came from his early years, spending his summers in the harsh Arizona desert working at the family's gold mine near Payson, Arizona. There he extracted his first gold with a gravitation mill. He gained a first hand knowledge of mineralogy and geology walking in the hills. With only a high school education, his curiosity pushed him to study geology where his aptitude for science, math and chemistry would be applied. At an impressionable age he attended a mineral show in Tucson when the popularity of turquoise was at its peak. Later, in New Mexico, he worked in an underground mine and helped to engineer and build a floatation mill. He continued to prospect in New Mexico which would bring in the exchange of knowledge with students from the School of Mines in Socorro. His wife Kitty grew up in Southern California where they met in 1965 and married in 1980. A year later they moved to Payson with hopes of having a little mining operation while Marvin made a living plumbing. Marvin had seen plenty of gold but he didn't find his first gold nuggets until 1985 when he picked up his first metal detector. It was through nugget hunting that Marvin was introduced to meteorites. A nugget collector gave him his first meteorite, a Canyon Diablo, in 1989. This was the beginning of a life long fascination with meteorites, which he still has today as the Curator of Meteorites at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab.

When Marvin and Kitty decided to pursue meteorites full time, it was a family affair with their two children, Elijah and Laura. Laura learned to walk in the Australian goldfields and Elijah success's finding gold and meteorites began at age 9. Our entire collection and inventory ultimately came from the meteorites we found. With help from our friends we continued buying, selling and finding meteorites for the past 18 years. Fortunately, we came into meteorites early enough to see and participate in many great discoveries. Meteorites are still being found everyday. We are happy to share our meteorites with people who are inspired by these ancient wondering rocks from space.