David Hole in 2015 found a heavy reddish rock which was resting in yellow clay. He found this while prospecting in Maryborough Regional Park near Melbourne. He made every efforts to open it in the hope of finding gold nuggets inside the rock since the Australian gold rush peaked in the 19th century in Maryborough.
For cracking it, he used rock saw, angle grinder even a sledgehammer but all efforts went in vain since there was no gold nugget in it. He later discovered it to be a rare meteorite.
Dermot Henry, Melbourne museum geologist said that it had a sculpted, dimpled look. It is formed when it comes through the atmosphere, where they melt on the outside as atmosphere sculpts it. He said that in his 37 years of experience at the museum he identified only two of the offerings to be genuine meteorites. David Hole took the ‘rock’ to the Melbourne Museum for identification and it turned out to be a meteorite. If you saw a rock on Earth like this, and you picked it up, it shouldn’t be that heavy
Researchers have published a paper to describe the 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite which has been named as Maryborough after the town near which it was found. The study has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria.
It weighs 17 kilograms and has a high composition of iron which makes it an H5 ordinary chondrite. There are small crystallised droplets of metallic minerals throughout it which are known as chondrules.
Henry says that meteorites provide the cheapest method of space exploration. They provide clues to the formation of the solar system. Some of them provide information about the interior of the Earth. Some contain ‘stardust’ which is older than the solar system showing us the formation of stars. There are also rare meteorites which contain amino acids that are the building blocks of life.
Researchers do not know exactly where the meteorite came from or how long it is present on Earth. Our solar system was a spinning pile of chondrite rocks and dust. Gravity pulled this material to form planets while the leftovers ended up in an asteroid belt. Henry explained that this meteorite might have come from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. It crashed on Earth leaving the belt due to collisions between asteroids.
Carbon dating suggests that it has been on Earth between 100 and 1000 years. It is much rarer than gold and is one of the 17 meteorites recorded in the Australian state Victoria. It has the second largest chondritic mass behind the 55-kilogram specimen found in 2003. It is quite amazing that this space rock got identified however it is not the first one to have an amazing story. One space rock took 80 years to make it to the museum after being through two owners.
Journal Reference: Royal Society of Victoria