It had been used to keep a door open for 30 years.
In Michigan, a man has discovered that a 22-lb rock that he’d been using as a doorstop for decades is actually a meteorite valued at US$100,000 (AUS$140,000).
The man, who asked not to be identified, said that he first came across the rock in 1988 when he was inspecting an Edmore farm he was planning to buy.
The then-owner of the farm told him that the meteorite arrived on Earth in the 1930s – “and it made a heck of a noise when it hit.” The next morning, the farmer and his daughter dug up the still-warm rock from the crater, then used it to prop open a door.
After buying the property from the farmer, the new owner decided to continue using the meteorite as a doorstop, as well as making his kids bring it to school for show-and-tell.
For the next 30 years, he would remain unaware of the meteorite’s value – that is, until he started hearing of Michigan residents who were finding and selling pieces of meteorite.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. I wonder how much mine is worth?’”
So he reached out to Mona Sibescu, a geology professor at Central Michigan University, to examine his rock.
“I could tell right away that this was something special,” she said.
Sibescu found that the rock was indeed a meteorite made of 88.5 percent iron and 11.5 percent nickel. Weighing 22 lbs, it’s also the sixth-largest recorded find in Michigan – and is estimated to be worth US$100,000.
“It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically,” Sibescu added.
To further verify the rock’s authenticity, a piece of it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, which confirmed the finding.
The Smithsonian and a mineral museum in Maine are considering buying the meteorite – now called ‘Edmore’ – for display. If the item gets purchased, the owner plans to give 10 percent of the sale value to fund the study of earth and atmospheric sciences at CMU.