Sometimes the most mundane objects turn out to be treasure. In this case, what appeared to be a fairly average rock is actually something much more rare: a meteorite. Most burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, so finding one intact is rare. But you would have to know what it was to know just how valuable this humble chunk of iron actually is.
It is believed that the meteorite was discovered in Michigan in the 1930s. It was found on a farm. It is unclear when it actually hit. Still, the farmer took the old chunk of iron and nickel and used it as a doorstop in his barn.
Experts believe that the very rare find might be worth more than $100,000.
The space debris is now at Central Michigan University, where geology professor Mona Sibescu is studying it.
“For 18 years, the answer has been categorically ‘no’ — meteor-wrongs, not meteorites,” Sibescu told reporters. “I could tell right away that this was something special.
“It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically,” Sibescu said. The meteorite is composed mostly of iron, but up to 11 percent is nickel.
In order to validate the find, Sirbescu sent a sample to the Smithsonian. Scientists there have agree about the significance of the find.
The current owner says he spoke with the man who found it. The man claimed the meteorite “made a heck of a noise when it hit.”
The next day, the farmer went out to check on what had made the noise. He found a crater. At the center was the meteorite.
The current owner lived on the farm for several years. When he moved, he took the meteorite with him.
“What typically happens with these at this point is that meteorites can either be sold and shown in a museum or sold to collectors and sellers looking to make a profit,” Sirbescu said.
The space rock is indeed for sale. The owner has agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale to Central Michigan University in gratitude for their help in the identification.