Monday, September 24, 2012

Outer Space Treasures Can Bring You Big Bucks (Conclusion)


(The huge "Altay" stony iron meteorite was discovered on July 7, 2011 in Xinjian Uygar Province, China.)

In this series of posts I brought your attention to a form of "golden" treasure from outer space, meteorites. Now I'd like to tell you a bit about stony irons, the third main type of these unique  asteroid or planetary fragments that have managed to burn their way through earth's atmosphere. Also, as promised in my previous post, I'll tell you the story of a very lucky American teenager who hit a meteorite "big one."

Stony Irons

The third main type of meteorite treasure is the stony iron. Unlike regular "irons," the stony iron meteorite is not very abundant and many experts believe them to be even rarer in terms of quantity than "stonies" from the Moon and Mars, although this is debatable to some degree.

Treasure Hunting
Metal Detectors
Gold Pans

As their name suggests, stony irons are typically about 50% nickel iron and 50% stone. Needless to say, their nickel iron content allows them to be detected by collectors and treasure hunters using magnetometers and metal detectors

Pallasites and Mesosiderites

Stony irons fall (pun intended!) into two main categories: pallasites and mesosiderites. Pallasites consist of a nickel-iron matrix packed with beautiful olivine crystals. Because of their unique composition, pallasites are highly sought after by museums and private collectors, who'll pay top dollar for nice specimens.

(This thin, pallasite slab clearly shows a typical nickel-iron matrix packed with olivine crystals.)

 (Stony iron mesosiderite.)

Mesosiderites tend to be smaller overall and consist of nickel iron and silicates. When opened or slabbed, mesosiderites display an unusual, high-contrast silver and black matrix that can be very appealing visually.

The "Altay" Stony Iron

The "Altay" stony iron meteorite depicted in the photo at the beginning of this post is the largest ever found on earth. It weighs in at an estimated (and astonishing) 25-30 tons!

(Another view of the "Altay" stony iron.)

Although I'm not 100% certain I believe the Altay stony iron is a pallasite, but I'm open to correction from someone more knowledgeable. Either way, because of it's one-of-a-kind status the Altay meteorite is unique and could command big (and I mean VERY big) money.

Hitting the "Big One" Without Getting Hit

In 1994, 18-year old Peekskill, New York resident Michelle Knapp's 1980 Chevy Malibu was parked in the driveway of her home when it was struck in the trunk area by a "stonie" meteorite that weighed in at a little under two pounds and that was traveling at a relatively low 164 miles per hour.

(The Peekskill "stonie" and the damage it caused to Michelle Knapp's Malibu.)

Michelle's Malibu had cost a grand total of $500.00 USD but her near miss brought her big bucks as collectors stumbled over each other to get a piece of the action from outer space. In the end, Michelle and her family received a cool $69,000 for both the car (yep, collectors bought that too) and the "stonie" that struck it.

SO you see, there is golden treasure out there in the form of meteorites. If you want to learn more about these visitors from outer space and their potential value, I suggest you visit the Meteorites USA website.

Good hunting to you all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Outer Space Treasures Can Bring You Big Bucks (Part 2)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com

2 comments:

  1. Hey J.R.
    I remember reading about that one in an old issue of Lapidary Journal. Pretty cool stuff! Equally interesting though was the moments following the stellar impact. On hearing the impact ( described as quite loud I'm sure) the girl , several family members , and a few neighbors all gathered around the freshly damaged car in discussion puzzling what in the world could have happened to damage the car in such a manner. One neighbor listened to the conversation and the discriptions and theorys that followed yet added nothing until asking the burning question" has anyone considered a meteorite "? Only then did they look under the car to find the still smoking visitor from space. Now here is the best part , turns out that the neighbor who figured it out was blind! Go figure, says something for keeping your ears and your brain open to all possibilitys doesn't it!

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    1. Wow Al! Interesting details to the story that I didn't know at all. Thanks for providing this info. Hope you and the family are doing well. My very best, J.R.

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