A rock that had been used as a barn doorstop on a Michigan farm for more than 30 years is actually a massive meteorite worth over $100,000.
The sixth largest meteorite recorded in Michigan has just been brought to the attention of experts over 80 years after its discovery.
The 22-lb. (10 kilograms) meteorite is believed to have touched down in the 1930s on a farm in Edmore, Michigan. Earlier this year, the man who purchased the farm in 1988 and obtained the meteorite as part of the property brought the space rock to Central Michigan University (CMU) for examination.
He said the farmer told him it was a meteorite that plunged to Earth in the 1930s – making “a heck of a noise when it hit” — and that he and his dad dug out the still-warm rock from a crater they found the next morning.
When the new owner moved after a few years, he took the mystery rock, which he has kept as a doorstop and a show-and-tell item for his kids in school.
|(Photo: Central Michigan University)|
But he was unaware of how much the celestial relic was worth.
Opportunity came knocking this year when he learned about Michigan residents finding and selling pieces of meteorites.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. I wonder how much mine is worth?’”
He reached out to Mona Sirbescu, a geology professor at Central Michigan University, to examine the oddly shaped rock.
“I could tell right away that this was something special,” said Sibescu, who determined the meteorite is made of 88.5 percent iron and 11.5 percent nickel.
“It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically,” Sibescu said.
For additional verification, a piece of the rock was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, which backed up the finding.
There's now a bit of a scuffle over who will buy the meteorite – both the Smithsonian and a mineral museum in Maine are considering purchasing the incredible find.
The man also has agreed to give 10 percent of the potential sale value to CMU for the study of earth and atmospheric sciences.
The above story is based on materials provided by Central Michigan University.