From doorstop to showstopper. This is the rags-to-riches story of a rock from outer space.
A Grand Rapids, Michigan, man, who wishes to remain anonymous, bought a farm near Edmore, Michigan, in 1988. It came with a weird rock that was used to prop open the door of a shed. The former owner told him it was a meteorite that landed on the property in the 1930s.
When the new owner moved after a few years, he took the rock with him and continued to use it as a doorstop. Decades later, he decided to get the rock checked out after reading stories about a fireball of a meteorite that broke up over the Midwest in January.
This is where geologist Mona Sirbescu of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant enters the story.
‘I could tell right away that this was something special,’ Sirbescu said Wednesday in a statement.
The meteorite, which is around the size of a cantaloupe, weighs over 22 pounds (10 kilograms). It’s the sixth largest meteorite found in Michigan, according to the university.
Sirbescu estimates its value at $100,000 (£76,400, AU$141,600).
An examination found that the rock is an iron-nickel meteorite composed of mostly iron with 12 percent nickel. A scientist at the Smithsonian Institution confirmed the analysis. The Smithsonian is considering purchasing the meteorite. A museum in Maine is also interested.
Central Michigan University said the meteorite’s owner has pledged to give 10 percent of a sale’s proceeds to fund Earth and atmospheric sciences students at the university, which would technically make it a schoolhouse rock.