Wisconsin meteor update: meteorite found

By Phil Plait | April 16, 2010 11:21 am

Apparently, the first meteorite from the fireball over Wisconsin has been found: a pair of brothers discovered a small chunk of the bright meteor that burned up over the midwest skies Wednesday night.

wisconsin_meteoriteIt certainly looks like a meteorite (click to embiggen); the outer blackened fusion crust is from passing through the air, and the interior has the gray, grainy structure in common chondrites. The cube is one centimeter in size and is used in photos like this to give scale.

Pretty cool. There may be thousands of such meteorites lying on the ground in Wisconsin right now; the meteoroid itself was probably a meter or so in size and weighted about a ton. Meteorite hunters are already there searching, and I hope that most of the fallen rocks will be sent to researchers for analysis.

Falls like this are very important scientifically. Having a lot of eyewitnesses means the path and therefore the orbit of the rock can be ascertained, and many times such meteoroids are part of a family of such objects; all on related orbits and probably from the same parent body. When we get samples of the meteorites that means we have samples of an asteroid!

So if you live in that area and find something suspicious, take photographs of it where it is, then carefully put it in a baggie or box (use gloves if you can so you minimize contamination) and contact a local University. The vast majority of rocks found this way aren’t meteorites (we call ‘em meteorwrongs, haha) but it’s worth making sure.

Image: Terry Boudreaux, submitted to Rocks From Space by Michael Farmer.

Comments (55)

  1. Darren Garrison

    “It certainly looks like a meteorite” (with “looks” in itallics)

    Phil, Mike Farmer has found thousands of meteorites. If he says it is a meteorite, it is a meteorite. No need for the skeptical phrasing.

  2. The cube is one centimeter in size and is used in photos like this to give scale.

    Ohhhhhh, the meteorite is the one on the right. Okay. Here I’d thought we’d found the best evidence yet for extra-terrestrial Boggle.

  3. Jerome

    Is there any significance to the letters on the 1cm Bogglesque die?

  4. Douglas Troy

    Meteorwrongs. HA!

    I see what you did there.
    :)

  5. Mary

    “Embiggen??” What’s wrong with “enlarge?”
    Though I did find the following on Wikipedia:

    “Lisa the Iconoclast” is the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons’ seventh season. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on February 18, 1996. In the episode, Springfield’s bicentennial approaches, and Lisa writes an essay on town founder Jebediah Springfield. While doing research, she finds a confession revealing that Springfield was a murderous pirate named Hans Sprungfeld who never cared about the people of Springfield. Lisa and Homer decide to get the message out, but instead anger the town council.

    The episode was written by Jonathan Collier and directed by Mike B. Anderson. The story was inspired by the real events of when President Zachary Taylor was exhumed. Donald Sutherland guest starred as the voice of Hollis Hurlbut, a part that was written specifically for him. The episode includes several references to Colonial America, including Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished 1796 painting of George Washington. The episode features two newly coined words: embiggen and cromulent which were intended to sound like real words but play on the fact that they are completely fabricated. Embiggen, coined by Dan Greaney, has seen use in several scientific publications, while cromulent, coined by David S. Cohen, appeared in the Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary of English.

  6. magetoo

    Glad I’m not the only one confused by the cube. :-)

    Why not just use a ruler?

    It’s a huge improvement over the standard “coin that’ll be unfamiliar to the majority of the world” of course. (Common sense solution: if you ever need some object for scale, just use something that’s the same everywhere, like a DVD, a battery, SD memory card, etc.)

  7. Darren Garrison

    “Is there any significance to the letters on the 1cm Bogglesque die?”

    The letters are N, S, E, W, T, and B, for north, south, east, west, top, and bottom. It is a “scale cube” (google it)

  8. Your comment: “…and I hope that most of the fallen rocks will be sent to researchers for analysis…”

    This comment is misleading to the public and implies that “researchers” are the only ones who should recover/analyze meteorites and could be seen as one that favors one side or another.

    Researchers only need a small amount of meteorites for analysis of type and classification. The simple fact is researchers don’t need “MOST” meteorites from any fall and your comment implies otherwise.

    Your comment is biased and divisive in that you’re making an unfair separation between meteorite hunters and researchers.

    There is absolutely ZERO reason that “MOST” meteorites should be given to researchers. The sad fact is that “MOST” meteorites that are given to researchers end up sitting in a dark drawers in a backroom at university where the public has no access or authority to view them. There are enough meteorites sitting in drawers and boxes in backrooms to fill 50+ meteorite museums across the USA. Enough for a meteorite museum in every capital city of this great nation. But instead, they sit in drawers, gathering dust.

    Your comment ignores the fact that “MOST” meteorites are in researchers hands because meteorite hunters and landowners have donated them, and this has been the norm for decades. Anyone in the meteorite world knows this. This is not to say that scientists and researchers don’t do field work and recover meteorites, they do, but your comment ignores the majority and focuses on the minority.

    Now, so I don’t sound like I’m bashing researchers and scientists. I fully support the study and advancement of meteorites through universities, museums, and educational institutions. If it were not for their work the science of meteoritics would not be what it is today.

    It’s important to make it clear that meteorite hunters, enthusiasts, researchers and scientists alike can and do work together on a regular basis to further this great science.

    Basically, instead of dividing with comments that can cause separation, perhaps we should be more cooperative instead.

    Regards,
    Eric Wichman

  9. Jerome

    Darren: Interesting, thank you very much for providing the proper term.

  10. Eric Wichman (#8): You post that diatribe and then say I’m the one who’s biased?

    All I’m saying is that I want the rocks to be analyzed so that we can learn from them. Anything else you infer from what I’ve said was not intended.

  11. Randy

    I SAW this thing… I thought a train full of fertilizer had exploded, or a plane went down, or we were being nuked!

    This EXPLOSION made a HALO as bright as the setting SUN. I am about 80 miles from this impact area…

    This was no TINY meteor! The night sky went to daylight and haloed my neighbors in a ORANGE RED glow of the sunset….

  12. Jeff

    This is very remarkable, for a fall to also later become a find. I mean, how unlikely is that in this big old surface area we call planet earth. But I’m sure it IS the one that fell.

  13. I don’t think a redundancy-filled rant is necessary…but if I find a meteorite, I’m keeping it!! Or course, I’d let any researchers come over to take a look at it if they want.

  14. jp

    I want to know why there wasn’t some kind of warning? I thought there were hundreds if not thousands of trained meteor spotters with high tech equipment watching the sky for large objects aimed at Earth. Thank God this one wasn’t devastating, but I also saw it and it was ENORMOUS! I thought it was the moon when I first saw it in the corner of my eye until I looked again and it kept getting bigger and faster and then BURST lighting up the sky entirely and then trailed off with a glittery tail to what looked like the neighbors house.
    It was a wonderful sight but shouldn’t we be warned about something this big? A meter large is a pretty big thing to fall from the sky! By the sounds of it a lot of people panicked when they saw it, some called 911 even.
    Maybe with a little warning that a big one would be on the way down would freak people out more…

  15. Darren Garrison

    #12 Jeff:

    “This is very remarkable, for a fall to also later become a find.”

    Not really.

    “Meteorite falls are those meteorites that were witnessed by people or automated devices as they moved through the atmosphere or hit the Earth, and were subsequently collected. As of April 2010, there are about 1,087 documented falls that are listed in widely used databases,”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteorite_fall

    http://jensenmeteorites.com/New%20meteorites.htm

  16. Darren Garrison

    #14 JP “I thought there were hundreds if not thousands of trained meteor spotters with high tech equipment watching the sky for large objects aimed at Earth. Thank God this one wasn’t devastating, but I also saw it and it was ENORMOUS!”

    Estimates are for an object of around 1 meter diameter. It was a pebble.

  17. Phil Plait (#10) Phil, Please do not take offense as none was meant. I didn’t say you were biased, I said you comment was. Perhaps I was a little overzealous in my response, but I still meant what I said. I’m not biased except that I simply don’t think researchers should be painted in public as the only ones that should study/collect meteorites, and your comment could be read that way.

    I completely agree that meteorites should be studied, and I fully support those that advance the science. I was very strong in my response for one reason and one reason only. That is to make it clear, that meteorite hunters and collectors have just as much right to recover, collect and and study meteorites as researchers and scientists. I’m all for sharing information, meteorites for study, and collection.

    It advances the science, and everyone wins when that happens.

    Regards,
    Eric Wichman

  18. Sean coutley

    I was in richland center wisconsion about 30 miles from where the piece was found. that night i saw 2 othere flashes in the sky at about 920 n 9 :40 while i was star gazing when the actual meteorite came i was driving back from the gast station n a big ball of light came from behind me lighting up the street n then a giant burst of light making it like it was mid day out then back to darkness. I will never forget that night. Any one have any insight on what the othere 2 flashes might have been? IT was clear out, no rain or storms that night.

  19. Jeff

    Eric: “That is to make it clear, that meteorite hunters and collectors have just as much right to recover, collect and and study meteorites as researchers and scientists. I’m all for sharing information, meteorites for study, and collection.”

    Just so long as they are required by law to donate them to a nonprofit organization like a science museum connected to a university. These are too valuable for the almighty “profit engine” (aka “market”) to rule.

    And I hope most people will pay attention to this: Once, about 1980, I interviewed for a teaching job at verde valley, Arizona, near Sedona. It was pristine, beautiful wilderness, and all the famous rocks, like Cathedral Rock, were all alone. I went back in 2000. What a terrible, terrible, disappointment, because in 20 years, development took over, and some of those rocks are not even visible anymore close up , except for the darn private property.

    Yes, Teddy Roosevelt, thank you, and all the others who designated the national park service. At least the grand canyon, et al, can’t be overrun by the private developers.

  20. jcm

    I hear you can make a buck by selling such meteorites to researchers/private collectors.

  21. MadScientist

    @magetoo: Ever carry a ruler around in your pocket while walking around a field all day?

    @eric #13: Nothing wrong with keeping it. In one of my drawers I have a tektite; when I got it I was interested in it for a few hours. If I had money (and if I could find the thing) I’d put it in a little glass case on the coffee table. Not every university would have people professionally interested in metorites either; I’d known a few collectors in universities but none of them even had access to the range of equipment they’d need to do an analysis. Basically all they can do is look at the rock and classify it. Most of the time these rocks are all the same – seen one of a type you’ve seen all of that type. Now and then you get interesting ones like the Murchison which is packed with organic compounds. The Murchison even has a distinct smell to it.

    @jp: the B.A. says the size was about 1 meter (~1 yard) and look at the rock – it’s a mottled gray. Do you think you could spot a rock that size from a few tens of thousand miles/kilometers away? People are interested in knowing where it came from – could there be more from the same source?

  22. Jeff (19) “…Just so long as they are required by law to donate them to a nonprofit organization like a science museum connected to a university. These are too valuable for the almighty “profit engine” (aka “market”) to rule…”

    This absolutely should not be the case. I don’t think you’re being very fair do you? Most meteorites in institutional collections come from meteorite hunters who kindly donated them willingly to further the science. Hunters, who spend their own time, effort and money to recover them. Should they not be reimbursed for their efforts by being allowed to sell some of the meteorites they find to the general public for private collection? Especially since the private sector loves meteorites too. The public get a chance to view and “OWN” a meteorite too. This gives people a chance to own something from space! Now how cool is that?

    To “require” anyone to donate anything by law is self serving and alienates those who would donate to begin with. It removes motivation for meteorite recovery and will ultimately damage the science you’re trying to protect in the first place.

    Are you saying that the public has no right to collect meteorites? Because if what you say is made law, then the public would not only be required by law to donate specimens, they may be forced to release specimens already in their collection.

    The simple fact is this, and unarguable, universities and educational institutions do NOT need all the meteorites from any particular meteorite fall to study a type or classification. Period. To infer otherwise is misleading.

    I believe in donating a portion of meteorites recovered to educational institutions, however for it to be required by law to donate all material is defeatist, it demotivates, and stifles progress of the science.

    Regards,
    Eric Wichman

  23. Darren Garrison

    #19 Jeff:

    “Just so long as they are required by law to donate them to a nonprofit organization like a science museum connected to a university.”

    An interesting thing happens when a country makes laws claiming ownership of all meteorites– suddenly, people stop finding them in that country.

    Most in the field meteorite collecting is done by people hoping to make a profit from collecting them. The professional meteorite scientists aren’t the ones out finding the (non-Antarctic) stones that they study– the meteorite dealers are. You take away the right to ownership of meteorites, you take away the incentive to search for them– and the number of meteorites reaching science has a large net decrease. (says a guy sitting in a room containing hundreds of meteorites.)

  24. MadScientist

    @jeff: What profit? There aren’t many individuals or outfits that make a commercial return on meteorite hunting. (Though I can think of a few unscrupulous individuals who do.) A buddy of mine had plans to look for some very large meteorite fragments after retirement (a plan which originally included the late Gene Shoemaker, and if you can get Gene excited about a specific hunt you know you’ve got something special) – now the particular impact they were going to investigate is the sort that could earn you a small fortune, not that I’d imagine that this pair of scientists would keep the rocks, or iron lumps as the case may be.

    @jcm: Yeah, a buck sounds about right. For the most part meteorite hunting is a labor of love. It’s kind of like treasure hunting on beaches – once in a while someone finds something genuinely interesting, but most of the time it’s nothing special. Well, except that the meteorite hunter may have another piece of space rock to take home.

  25. Brian Too

    14. jp,

    The energy of the impact is what makes meteor strikes so dangerous. However this one was far too small to be seen beforehand by any of the telescopes looking for such things.

    That’s the interesting thing about collisions in space. The relative speeds involved are usually very high by earthly standards and that gives the impacts huge energy.

    The current surveys can find Near Earth Objects down to a few hundred metres in size. As this one was only estimated at one metre in diameter it was essentially invisible.

  26. Darren Garrison

    There has been exactly 1 meteorite sited before it entered the atmosphere:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_TC3

  27. mike bukhart

    Good job. If I do find a meteorite how munch would a university pay me for it?My price dose not come cheep they better give me big bucks for it . hahaha just kiding if I find a meteorite I will donate it for free in the cause of science. The only thing is I don’t look for them.

  28. Terri Haag

    That was a very entertaining string of posts. I will now attempt to unravel some of the silliness. A.) The earth’s atmosphere is bombarded 24/7 by meteorites – most are literally microscopic particles, some are hunks weighing thousands of pounds. B.) Presently there is no way to detect anything but house-sized asteroids because they come in from all directions at all times, at cosmic speeds and they are just too small. It would be like looking for one particular minnow in a tidal wave. C.) Meteorites are just ROCKS. They are interesting rocks, to be sure, but they are just rocks. D.) Requiring they be “turned in” to trained researchers makes about as much sense as demanding that all rabbits be turned in to zoos. E.) The international meteorite community is composed of scientists, collectors, dealers, museums and schools, and it does an excellent job, within a generally free market, of policing itself, thanks awfully. Sooner or later, important scientific specimens make their way to the people most suited to study them. No external, legislated Draconian measures are required. F.) Researchers are interested in their own particular narrow fields of study and I absolutely promise you they don’t care about yet another ordinary NWA chondrite. G. Without meteorite hunters, dealers, private collectors and all those other odious folks, you could immediately take the number of meteorite discoveries in museums and in the hands of those earnest researchers and cut it by about 75%. Without the private sector out there looking for PROFIT, there would be no meteorites TO STUDY because there would be no incentive, and again, I promise you no academic’s budget extends to covering prospecting trips to the middle of the Libyan Desert and other forsaken spots in the world. So… go find those stinking little rocks or they will turn into gorgeous Wisconsin farm land.

  29. Old Muley

    Is there ANY chance these meterorites would have caused fires on the ground? My sister-in-law lives in SW Wisconsin and claims several were started by the debris.

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    On an (Aussie) TV news report on the Wisconsin meteor last night the voiceover guy said

    “scientists say depite its brightness the object was probably only the size of a softball.”

    Or something very similar, definitely incl. the softball size analogy.

    Now I read here that :

    the meteoroid itself was probably a meter or so in size and weighted about a ton.

    So .. I’m confused -which is it? How big was the Wisconsin meteoroid exactly or probably?

    I did think most meteors – even quite bright ones were made by very small objects dust grain to pea sized usually and yet I do know too that rocks in space range from microscopic micro-meteors all the way up to rocks the size of Ceres – although of course there’s only one of those! ;-)

  31. Messier Tidy Upper

    As for meteorite hunters privately searching, finding & keeping meteorites versus people turning them in for museums I think both have their place.

    I do think its a good thing if more people get to see and enjoy these awesome objects from outer space.

    At an South Australian Astronomical Society meeting we once had someone (forget their name, private collector) give a talk on meteorites bringing samples along – I’ve got a picture somewhere of myself holding a metallic meteorite and vividly recall the feeling of awe at this heavy chunk of a micro-planets core. They also had tiny chips off of Mars and our Moon.

    The South Australian museum (like most others I’m guessing) has a meteorite section which enables more people from the general public to see and enjoy and learn about them.

    I think meteorites are great things to share with others and both private individual collecters and museums and other public institutes can do this and are well advised to do so.

    However, particularly scientifically interesting and rare examples do deserve to be studied by professional experts and that knowledge should get shared with all people I think. After that, ideally, it would be best if everyone could see them – but I can also understand why someone would want to keep them and collect them too.

    Surely some sort of reasonable compromise is possible here?

    If I personally found a meteorite I would be delighted and I’d share that delight with others – whether or not I’d keep it or donate it would probably depend on exactly how special it was. If it was an average unexceptional one I may well keep it for myself (& try not to lose it inthe great untidy mess that is my home!) but if itwas something scientifically valuable and extra rare I would probably, I think donate it or have it on permanent loan to a museum or to another organisation specifically studying and educating others about them. But that’s just me & I can understand other people doing things differently too. :-)

  32. Darren Garrison

    #29 “Is there ANY chance these meterorites would have caused fires on the ground?”

    No. These meteorite were falling for tens of seconds to minutes under normal falling speeds after being slowed to a stop from their cosmic veolcity while still miles above the ground. And most all of the heat generated by their passage through the atmosphere while they still had cosmic velocity was carried away from the rock as ablated gases and droplets– no heat gets more than millimeters below the surface of the meteorite (but the location of the surface is changing constantly during ablation, of course.) Those meteorites did not cause fires.

  33. Old Muley

    Thanks Darren, that’s what I thought. I think my sister-in-law is confusing correlation with causation. Some knucklehead probably tossed a lit cigarette out a car window and the ensuing grass fire gets blamed on the meteor. Of course an fire could also have just been a prank; “why lookie o’er der pa, one of dem der meaty-or-rites dun landed in da cow pasture! Git yur four-wheeler an weel go check it out. Better bring yur gun in case der are any of dem der aliens a lurking about.”

  34. fredski

    WHO YOU GONNA CALL…METEORITE MEN!!!

  35. Gary Ansorge

    I wonder if there are any reports of a rare earth meteorite discovery? Just saying, if a solid platinum meteorite falls in my back yard, proceeds from its sale will go toward my retirement fund,,,

    Gary 7

  36. Pi-needles

    @^ Gary Ansorge: Does Iridium count as a rare Earth?

    I think its possible and quite likely but can’t name any specific cases.

  37. Ed

    Word is that someone has found a softball sized chunk in N Central IL (Dixon area). They have contacted the Chicago Tribune, so reports should be out soon.

  38. Keith (the first one)

    @7

    “The letters are N, S, E, W, T, and B, for north, south, east, west, top, and bottom. It is a “scale cube” (google it)”

    Does that mean it’s stuck to a wall on the south side of a room?

  39. Eric

    Here are the pictures from my buddy’s aunt’s house near Dixon, IL. Big chunk, but needs verification.

    http://zspang.tumblr.com/post/529437435/meteor

  40. Darren Garrison

    “Here are the pictures from my buddy’s aunt’s house near Dixon, IL. Big chunk, but needs verification.”

    No. No chance whatsoever. That looks NOTHING like a fresh meteorite. The new Wisconsin meteorite is a beautiful grey and black breccia, looks almost lunar (but isn’t.) http://www.meteoritesusa.com/images/wi-meteorite.jpg

    What you have there is an ugly, porous piece of sh– uh of slag.

    http://meteorites.wustl.edu/meteorwrongs/meteorwrongs.htm

  41. Hi, All;

    Just a note from a geologist here in Colorado. 1: You cannot dismiss this gentleman’s Dixon Illinois specimen by merely looking at pictures on the internet. Further testing is always required. It may well be the real thing. 2: There are several known instances in the historical record of meteorites causing ground fires at the point of impact. This is not only possible–it is a matter of record. 3: Perhaps most importantly, I am disturbed, as a scientist and as a citizen, by anyone recommending that citizens be required to surrender meteorites (or any personal property) to universities or museums or government. Exactly what kind of police state do you want to live under? As long as we still claim to be a free country ( a claim that is rapidly becoming increasingly dubious–especially in our present slouch towards statist socialism), we cannot tolerate any more requirements that government confiscate the private property of our citizens. As a geologist, I can assure you we need only a very small sample of a meteorite in order to classify and study it.

    Please think about every single thing you hear a scientist or media figure or politician say, and ask yourself,”What will this proposal do to individual liberty?” If the answer is that liberty would be diminished, then oppose the person’s suggestion or policy/legislation. The only way we are going to reclaim liberty in this republic is to expose and fight every single threat to freedom, no matter how well-intentioned it is.

    Thanks for listening–and kudos to all the hunters and researchers out there in the field!!!
    — Steve Davis Littleton, Colorado

  42. Randy Callaway

    Anybody out there ever hear of a guy named Jordy Verrill?

  43. Darren Garrison

    41: “Just a note from a geologist here in Colorado. 1: You cannot dismiss this gentleman’s Dixon Illinois specimen by merely looking at pictures on the internet.”

    Just a note from a meteorite collector here in South Carolina. Hell yes, I can. There are some cases where a real meteorite looks like a terrestrial rock. There are some cases where a terrestrial rock looks like a meteorite. But that photo is beyond any shadow of a doubt NOT a meteorite. It is a piece of slag, and anyone familiar with meteorites will recognize it as slag with the barest glace. A fresh meteorite looks ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like slag– the fusion crust is jet black (with chondrites) and if fresh enough may even be powdery in appearance. The interior will be free of rust or staining. And the surface will NOT be covered with holes from air bubbles. Look at the photo I linked to of the cut fresh piece of Livingston. Look at my earlier link to the page of meteorwrongs.

    I have multiple examples of meteorites collected within days of their fall within reach of me as I sit here. How many do you have in front of you, geologist from Colorado?

    (Edited to add an informative post from the metlist about the slag photo)

    http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/meteorite-list/2010-April/063490.html

  44. Doug

    I was wondering when anyone was going to mention the Meteorite Men; the guys and series on the Science Channel. Someone more familiar with the show should comment, but I have seen it a few times. It appears to me there is a market in buying/selling meteorites, primarily by size. However, they also took pains to show them being analyzed by University-type scientist people. It was not clear to me whether the university had bought them or they had been donated, or whether they were just letting the scientist non-destructively test them. I THINK some universities do buy them for these purposes, but I don’t know which.

  45. Doug (44) Yes, Universities do purchase meteorites, BUT most educational institutions don’t have large budgets, hence the request for donations. Also, there need only be a small representative sample of any meteorite from a particular fall for study and classification as Steve (41) suggests. Those scientists who suggest otherwise or request that “MOST” meteorites be donated are doing so for self serving and biased reasons. There is absolutely NO need for that, and the request for donation is most times unnecessary as meteorite hunters and collectors tend to donate samples for study anyway. I would tend to agree with the point that it would be a travesty to have a law which requires anyone in the private sector to relinquish their rights as citizens to own meteorites, and require that they be donated. This draconian and idiotic idea is put forth by that same people that think that most meteorites should be donated to universities. Ask yourself why? Is it because they need most of the meteorites from any fall to study? Nope, we’ve already discovered that’s not the case. Is it because, as SOME unscrupulous scientists claim, that data will be lost to science forever if these meteorites are left in civilian hands? Nope, because most meteorites are in turn sold or donated to universities and museums all over the world for study and collection, so obviously that’s not the case. In fact most meteorites in institutional collection were donated to or purchase by the university. Where did they get them? From meteorite hunters!

  46. JCM – you may be able to make a buck, but I think it is more of an exception than the rule.

    Doug – Meteorite Men do go about things right, and Steve (the star of the show) is famous for becoming a millionaire when he found the largest meteorite ever found in the US, thus the fame and thus the show. However, I think to truly make money at it, you would have to be finding substantial findings such as large meteorites or very rare/unique specimens.

    Eric – Good comments

    So there is a market out there, but it’s no time to start a “moon rock rush”. Popularity is growing with meteorite men and news articles like these, but it is like any gold rush. The trend will die, and those that truly love meteorites, ie meteorite hunters, will be the only ones left. Maybe I’m partial as I am a meteorite hound, but I think we are a great bunch of people that dedicate both a passion for collecting rocks and a passion for scientific advancement(ie sharing finds with researchers)

  47. Darren Garrison

    “Meteorite Men do go about things right, and Steve (the star of the show) is famous for becoming a millionaire when he found the largest meteorite ever found in the US,”

    1 Steve did not discover the largest meteorite ever found in the US. Biggest is Willamette.

    2 Steve would be very surprised to find out that he is a “millionaire.”

  48. pjmad

    A few of the meteor fragments did end up at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. They were thoroughly analyzed by the geoscience department using technologies that would only be available at a major research university. As the university called for people to bring in fragments, they stressed that they were interested in radioisotopes that decay rapidly after the meteorite lands.

    The half-dozen or so fragments will be on display at the university’s geology museum, alongside the museum’s permanent display collection of meteorites through the weekend, at which time they’ll be returned to the people who found them.

    Horrible things indeed happen when people give meteorites to universities.

    http://www.news.wisc.edu/17969
    http://www.news.wisc.edu/17973

  49. Rocco Ames

    Randy Callaway Says:
    April 19th, 2010 at 2:22 am
    Anybody out there ever hear of a guy named Jordy Verrill?

    As in “The Awesome Death of Jordy Verrill” from Creepshow? Radness.

  50. Darren,
    I realize you may be able to assert that the rusty and weathered appearance of the Dixon, Illinois sample does not look fresh–I was just stating that you cannot eliminate the possibility that it is meteorite. I was not insisting that it was from this particular fall. It could be extraordinarily old, which would explain the terrestrial weathering effects that can make many old meteorites resemble smelter slag. Meteorites are found everywhere (We live in outer space!) . I just don’t like people to be dismissed superficially and then become discouraged and discard a potentially genuine specimen. Just explaining my position…no hard feelings! –Steve ( the geologist in Colorado)

  51. Joe Hinke

    Wow. Talk about high school politics. I thought this was a good place to get good info. Turns out it is just another useless forum to bash someone without having the balls to do it to their face. Later days…………

  52. Darren Garrison

    #50 This guy’s aunt is perfectly welcome to waste her time and money (and the time of a professional) if that is what she wants. And she will be told exactly what I’ve already said. I don’t have “hard feelings”, I just find it frustrating and annoying to see someone positioning themselves as an authority (on something that they are not) spreading misinformation. You may be a geologist, but you are wrong about this.

  53. can’t agree more with what has already been stated. The rock in question here is NOT a meteorite. The appearance should be smooth and rounded without vesicles (holes)for starters. There are lots of terrestrial earth rocks that are magnetic. hematite, ores, and magnetite are just a few. That simple magnet test is not a defining characteristic, it must be tested in other chemical analysis to see if it is a meteorite.

    yes we do live on a planet tht is regularly impacted by outer space objects. However when it comes to judging whether or not a suspected rock is a meteorite or not let the ones who have been out in the field looking for these tell you whether it is or not. Then give it a rest.

  54. Frank

    Where there was none and then there was thousands. I frequent a vast area of hilly desolate beach and sand with a type of sand grass and some trees in areas. Very few people go there. In many of the areas it is just sand and nothing else and no rocks. One day there was no rocks and a couple days later it was peppered with thousands of rocks in about 6 different areas I found. I researched and found there to have been a Perseid meteor shower Aug. 12, 2010 These rocks I believe to have come from this Perseid 2010 which I discovered them on approximately Aug 14 or 15, 2010. There is a lot of them, and one has some material growing from a crack in the surface which is like fine hair strands but only a few strands. Some are slightly metallic which can be held up with a magnet and are about quarter in size. Some very slightly metallic which you can tell the magnet sticks but would not pick up with magnet and are in many sizes up to about 3-4 inches and a lot are rocky with crystals and some that look like chunks of smooth surface but jagged and look like dark slate and others have bally nodules with no metallic up to 5 -6 inches. Some are grainy, some are smooth and some have textured and some with holes like swiss cheese. All kinds of colors black, green, white, red, and golden and a lot with mixed colors and a lot with same material makeup. Many types of rocks, and only a couple that are whole, but most are pieces, it seams to be quite the full selection. I also found two huge craters, one about 10 feet in diameter and about 4 feet deep dish shaped and one that is about 25 feet in diameter and is about 10 feet deep and are in the middle of a grassy area but has absolutely no grass in the craters and they are about 1000 feet apart. From all these areas I found you can draw a straight line through the craters to the areas where the rocks were in there areas across a path of 250 feet wide by 3/4 mile long. I think this is a huge discovery?

  55. IllinoisGal

    Frank #54

    Take Pictures of your rock finds and craters. Post them here. What locality are you in, try to get some local help. Is the magnet you use on the rocks a strong N42 type rare earth magnet?

    Meteorite finds primarily are unrelated to meteor showers from comet debris, and all your colorful red and green and “swiss cheese” material does not bode well for being a meteorite. Your bally rocks to 6 inches in size should be impressively heavy, for their size compared to ordinary earth rocks the same size, if they are meteorites.

    Good luck learning about what you have found, post some pictures of the back, brown, rusty or grey rocks you have, Meteorites, for the most part, have shiny, smooth or dark exteriors and various lighter internal matrix if fragmented or partially exposed. The dark slate rocks you mention, with smooth but jagged surface would be nice to see in a picture.

    So being at a beach, water can wash rocks of many sizes, many yards when there has been excessive rainfall, the water line rises and recedes and rocks either become exposed or were carried by water. Let’s hope you are not now looking at thousands of rocks in your same old place due to that type of wash. Keep all your new found rocks, it may be the find of the decade!

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