An Australian man kept a rock for years thinking it contained a gold nugget. None of this, perhaps much more.
In 2015, David Hole was carrying out prospecting (investigation aimed at understanding the nature and structure of rocks underground) in Maryborough Regional Park, near Melbourne, Australia. Armed with a metal detector, he discovered something unusual: a very heavy reddish rock resting in some yellow clay. He took it home and tried in every way to open it, sure that there was a gold nugget inside.
Nothing to do. He couldn’t crack it, not with a grinder or a drill, not even trying to dip it in acid. Because what he was trying to open, with so much effort, was not what he thought (and wanted) it to be. Unable to open the ‘rock’, but still intrigued, Hole took it to the Melbourne Museum for identification.
Years later it was found to be a rare meteorite , as Melbourne Museum geologist Dermot Henry stated in 2019. The researchers have published a scientific paper describing the meteorite, dating back to 4.6 billion years ago. They named it Maryborough, after the town where it was found.
The meteorite weighs a whopping 17 kilograms and, after cutting a small slice with a diamond saw, the researchers discovered that its composition has a high percentage of iron , making it an ordinary H5 chondrite . In fact, once dissected it was possible to see the tiny crystallized drops of metallic minerals that make it up. “Meteorites are the cheapest form of space exploration. They transport us back in time, giving us clues about the age, formation and chemistry of our Solar System (including Earth),” Henry said.
“Some allow us to take a look inside our planet. Inside them is the oldest ‘stardust’ in our Solar System, which shows us how stars form and evolve,” comments Hole. This particular meteorite probably comes from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and was ejected by a few asteroids that collided with each other, subsequently colliding with Earth.”
Between 1889 and 1951 there were several sightings of meteorites and the one found by David Hole could be one of them.
Researchers argue that the Maryborough meteorite is much rarer than gold, which increases its value invaluably.
- Maryborough, a new H5 meteorite find from Victoria, Australia. (publish.csiro.au)