Thursday 20 June 2013

Ancient meteorite found in Minnesota field.

In the spring of 2012 Minnesota farmer Bruce Lilienthal discovered a large rock in one of his fields. This was not in itself a rare occurrence, large rocks often work their way to the surface in Lilienthal's fields and have to be cleared. However this rock proved to be somewhat exceptional, it was 40 cm by 30 cm wide and 5 cm deep, yet weighed around 15 kg, roughly four times as much as a typical local rock of this size, clanged like an anvil when struck with another rock and had a blackened, burned looking exterior. Lillenthal brought the rock to his home, to add to a collection of curious rocks he has found on his farm, where it caught the attention of his wife, Nelva, who had seen pictures of meteorites on websites and wondered if this could be one.

Bruce Lilienthal with his meteorite. David Joles/StarTribune.

Curious about this the Lilienthals took the rock to Calvin Alexander, an Earth Scientist and curator of the universities Meteorite Collection at the University of Minnesota, who confirmed the extra terrestrial origin of the rock, which has a unique crystalline structure and is comprised of around 90% iron and 8% nickel. The meteorite is thought to be about 4.6 billion years old, roughly the same age as the Sun, making it among the oldest objects in the Solar System.

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