Man Stores Stone for Years, Hopes It’s Gold. It turned out to be more valuable: ScienceAlert

Man Stores Stone for Years, Hopes It's Gold.  It turned out to be more valuable: ScienceAlert
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In 2015, David Hole was scouting in Maryborough Regional Park near Melbourne, Australia.

Armed with a metal detector, I discovered something unusual – a very heavy, reddish rock sitting in yellow clay.

He took it home and tried everything to open it, convinced that there was a gold nugget inside the rock – after all, Maryborough is in the Goldfields region, where Australian gold peaked in the 19th century.

To open his find, Hole tried a rock saw, an angle grinder, a drill, and even dipped the object in acid. However, no sledgehammer could crack it. Because it wasn’t the gold nugget he was trying so hard to uncover.

As I found out years later, it was a rare meteorite.

“It had a sculpted, pitted appearance,” Melbourne Museum geologist Dermot Henry said. he said Sydney Morning Herald in 2019.

“It’s formed when they go through the atmosphere, they melt outside and the atmosphere sculpts them.”

Unable to decipher the “stone”, but still intrigued, Hole took the nugget to the Melbourne Museum for identification.

“I looked at a lot of rocks that people thought were meteorites,” Henry told Channel 10 News.

In fact, after 37 years working at the museum and examining thousands of rocks, Henry said only two of those presented turned out to be genuine meteorites.

It was one of the two.

(Museum Victoria)Maryborough meteorite with a slab cut from the mass. (Melbourne Museum)

“If you see a rock like this on Earth and pick it up, it shouldn’t be that heavy,” Melbourne Museum geologist Bill Birch said. explained to Sydney Morning Herald.

Researchers have published a scientific paper describing the 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite, naming it Maryborough after the town near where it was found.

It weighs 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds), and after using a diamond saw to cut a small slice, researchers discovered that it contained high levels of iron. H5 ordinary chondrite.

Once opened, you can also see tiny crystallized drops of metallic minerals along it. chondrules.

“Meteorites provide the cheapest form of space exploration. They transport us back in time and provide clues about the age, formation and chemistry of our Solar System (including Earth).” Henry said.

“Some offer a glimpse into the deep interior of our planet. Some meteorites contain ‘stardust’ older than our Solar System, which tells us how stars formed and evolved to form the elements of the periodic table.

“Other rare meteorites contain organic molecules such as amino acids, the building blocks of life.”

near maryborough meteoriteSlab cut from the Maryborough meteorite. (Birch et al., PRSV, 2019)

While researchers still don’t know where the meteorite came from or how long it stayed on Earth, they have some guesses.

Our solar system was once a swirling pile of dust and chondrite rock. Eventually, gravity pulled most of this material together into the planets, but the remnants are mostly giant asteroid belt

“This particular meteorite most likely came from the intervening asteroid belt mars and Jupiterand it got pushed out of there by some asteroids that crashed into each other, and then one day it crashed into Earth,” Henry told Channel 10 News.

Carbon dating indicates that the meteorite has been on Earth for between 100 and 1,000 years, and between 1889 and 1951 there were a number of meteor sightings consistent with its arrival on our planet.

Researchers claim that the Maryborough meteorite is rarer than gold, making it even more valuable to science. It is one of 17 meteorites ever recorded in the Australian state of Victoria, and is the second largest chondritic mass after a massive 55 kilogram specimen identified in 2003.

“This is the 17th meteorite found in Victoria, where thousands of gold nuggets have been found,” Henry told Channel 10 News.

“Looking at the chain of events, its discovery is pretty astronomical.”

This is not even the first meteorite that took several years to get to the museum. Especially in an amazing story A space rock covered by ScienceAlert in 2018 took 80 years, two owners and a door stop until it was finally revealed what it was.

Now is probably the best time to check your yard for particularly heavy and hard-to-break rocks—you could be sitting on a metaphorical gold mine.

The study was published Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria.

A version of this article was originally published in July 2019.

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