Sunday, May 25, 2008

Meteorite, Meteorwrong?

So... I was home alone last Thursday night when I heard something hit the house. Something moderately large. Larger than a moth...
It did give me the creeps but not enough to make me call the police or rip me away from my A&E Lorna Doone.
Friday morning, when I was outside watering the plants, I found a rock on the sidewalk. (I live in the middle of nowhere so things don't typically just appear without reason).*
I picked it up to throw it out of the yard and noticed that it was extraordinarily heavy. Something made me put the rock down on a retaining wall rather than pitch it away. The rock puzzled me and it haunted me throughout the day. It was a bit like I had a geological obsession. Ever get those? No? Suddenly I thought... holy frickin' frick! It's a meteorite!!! That's what hit the house.. that's why it's so heavy... that's why it has some rust!!! COOOOL!

I went to the fridge and got a magnet and it stuck to the rock!! Confirmed! I had a piece of the heavens in my backyard.
How much is a meteorite worth, I wondered...
Should I sell it or keep it as a memento? How many people find and possess meteorites? I decided that if it was worth a fortune, I would sell it. Hey, I have to pay for grad school. If it was only worth a couple of hundred $ I would keep it for coolness.
Husband's constant and rarely endearing pessimism led me to research the rock further.
It had many qualities of a meteorite:
Silvery flecks of iron and nickel.. - It does have silvery flecks
Attracts magnets - confirmed with authentic (from Japan) Hello Kitty fridge magnet
Is heavier than regular rocks - most definitely
Rust - Yes, it is rusty
Fusion Crust - Erm... well.. no.
Apparently the fusion crust is one of the most defining characteristics of a meteorite. It does have some slightly glossy spots but not really what the meteorite websites say it should have acquired when speeding into the Earth's atmosphere. Frick.
Sadly, I've given up on the meteorite theory; however, I do still think the rock is interesting. Turns out, there are many civil war era iron furnaces in the area. It could be a piece of iron slag from one of the furnaces.?.?.? Maybe?
Civil War trash is kinda cool, right? Some people around here think so...

The bigger question for me now is how the frick did iron slag end up in my backyard and was the specimen what hit my house when I was all alone and trying to have a wine and girlie movie night? Who the frick is throwing slag at my house?

ETA: There is still a part of me that hopes to discover a large hole in the attic where the bigger chunk of meteorite landed, but I can't go into the attic because of the rabid squirrels. Maybe I'll blog about the rabid squirrels some other time.

*We know of all new items that enter our very small yard. One day husband lost his wedding ring while doing yard work. He went completely Gollum on us and almost literally combed the yard looking for his Precious. There was not a blade of grass we were not familiar with during our search for the One wedding ring. He did find the ring but not before he gave up and bought a replacement. Now he has a spare Precious and all is well with the world. Except for the rabid squirrels.