Thursday, September 20, 2012

Outer Space Treasures Can Bring You Big Bucks (Part 1)

("Visitors" from outer space.)

(You small-scale gold miners and nugget shooters listen up...the info in this "Treasure Trove Dreams" post may prove valuable to you as well...after all, miners are treasure hunters too.)

Treasure trove is often defined in the eyes of the beholder and in treasure hunting circles gold and silver bullion or coins are the standard that all other troves are compared to. There is a type of treasure from outer space, however, that can be more than worth its weight in gold.

What am I talking about here? Meteorites brothers and sisters...meteorites.

Three Main Types

Commonly known as falling stars, meteorites are meteor fragments that have survived the intense heat of entry into (and through) the earth's atmospheric layers. Meteorites vary in type, composition, shape, and size but one thing they have in common besides being celestial "visitors" is that they can command big bucks from private collectors and museums.

Treasure Hunting
Metal Detectors
Gold Pans

There are three main types of meteorites: iron, stony iron, and stone. Of these three types, the most valuable are the "stonies."

$1,000 per Gram
Some "stonies" can be worth as much as $1,000 per gram in weight and they are highly sought after. The problem for those of us who wield metal detectors as part of our electronic prospecting or treasure hunting efforts is simply that, without metal in them, pure "stonies" can't be detected.

You have to know what to look for when it comes to "stonies" and most treasure hunters or electronic prospectors probably wouldn't recognize one if it hit us on the proverbial rear end. However, one giveaway is that many "stonies" contain small, often colorful grain-like inclusions called chondrules (see image below). Another is that newer "stonies" will retain a blackish fusion crust from their red-hot passage through our atmosphere.

("Stonie" Meteorite with chondrules.)

Rarest "Stonies"

The rarest and most valuable of all the "stonies" are those that arrive on earth from Mars, the Moon, and various asteroids. How rare are these lunar and Martian meteorites? Well, to date only about 100 "stonies" from the Moon have been recovered here on earth and about 30 from Mars.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or astronomer) to figure out the potential dollar amounts that could result from a find of one of these lunar or Martian "stonies." If (and that's a big "if") you could find a nice one out there you'd probably supplement your annual income by an exponential factor.

Until next time, good hunting!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Small Treasures: 'Posthole Banks'"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. I've been interested in these for some time, found some "maybes"but no "yep, thats ones". Untill now, I thought they were all metalic and could set off a detector, or stick to a magnet, so I'm glad you wrote this. As allways, this site is helpfull. Sometimes I don't learn anything new, but most of the time I do. I found a coffee colored smooth river type rock last year that will stick to a magnet, but i think it's magnatite and not a meteor. I'd like to show it to someone that would know for sure. If I think about it I'll send you a picture. Thanks again, Gary

  2. Thanks for the comments and your ongoing support Gary. Yes, many people think all meteorites are nickel-iron or iron. In actuality, they are all valuable but the Martian and lunar "stonies" are worth far more than most gold you can pull in 6 months or a year (or longer). Best, J.R.