Man Finds Rock More Rare Than Gold

Otis Adams

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Museums Victoria

David Hole was wandering Regional Park in Australia with his metal detector back in 2015. With fingers crossed, rock hunters search the site of Australia's gold rush of the 1800's hoping those old miners missed a few nuggets.

When Hole's detector went off over a very heavy red rock, he had a hunch he'd found something rare. He hoped that gold was hidden inside the rock and he lugged it home.

In what sounds like the opening scene of an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, Hole tried everything to crack the rock open. He tried smashing it with a sledgehammer without results. He tried sawing it in half with a rock saw without leaving a mark. He even poured acid on the mysterious rock.

It turns out that a rock that passed through Earth's atmosphere is not easily impressed by things found in the average garage.

Hole began to wonder what sort of rock could resist his efforts so easily and took it to the Melbourne Museum to find out. It was there that the museum's geologist, Dermot Henry, realized he was looking at only the second meteorite he had found among the thousands of rocks brought into the museum for his expert opinion over the last 37 years.

Hole's 4.6 billion-year-old space rock became the subject of a scientific paper, and was given the name Maryborough.

The 37-pound meteorite was finally penetrated by a diamond saw and analyzed. Being largely made up of iron, it has been categorized as an "H5 ordinary chondrite". The meteorite also has other minerals scattered throughout.

Meteorites provide the cheapest form of space exploration. They transport us back in time, providing clues to the age, formation, and chemistry of our solar system...Some provide a glimpse at the deep interior of our planet. In some meteorites, there is stardust even older than our solar system, which shows us how stars form... (Dermot Henry, Melbourne Museum)

Henry told an Australian news station that he believes the meteorite to have travelled to Earth from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Such asteroids are sometimes knocked loose from their homes by other asteroids colliding with them.

The best guess carbon dating can allow is that the meteorite arrived on Earth between 100 and 1,000 years ago.

While thousands of gold nuggets have been found in the Australian state of Victoria, this is only the 17th asteroid discovered there.

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Author of Lavatory Reader #1: This Road, now available on Amazon. New Twitter @OtisAdamsWrites. Otis Adams is an award-winning writer with three books under his belt and two dozen awards boxed up in his closet for his screenplays and short fiction. He writes regularly on Medium.com and can be contacted at pithbooks@gmail.com.

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