In 2015 an Australian prospector embarked on a journey to search for gold in Maryborough Regional Park. However, instead of gold, he found something priceless. The Australian prospector discovered a strange-looking rock that he thought was gold, but it turned out to be an extremely rare meteorite.
Australian prospector David Hole has spent the last four years searching for the origin of the odd rock he found. To his huge surprise and to the surprise of experts, he discovered a meteorite believed to be 4.6 billion years old. That could mean the space rock has been present since the early days of the solar system we live in.
Hole found the rare meteorite using a metal detector near Melbourne, but he thought it was gold because the area was particularly famous for holding a lot of gold since the discovery of a vast fortune in the 19th century at the time of a gold rush. However, he was unsuccessful at accessing the rock’s interior despite using all the methods typically used, including acid and a sledgehammer.
Since he had no success opening the rock, the Australian prospector took it to the Melbourne Museum, where experts identified it as a rare meteorite. Scientists had to use a diamond saw to slice off a sliver of the space rock and then found it to be an H chondrite, which is the most common type of meteorite. Rocks of this type contain a high percentage of iron and represent 40% of all meteorites ever discovered.
Dermot Henry, a geologist at Melbourne Museum, explained to the Sydney Morning Herald that “it had this sculpted, dimpled look to it,” causing its outer layer to melt as it burned up in the atmosphere. Because of the materials it contains, such as iron and nickel, the meteorite was extremely heavy. It also had tiny bits of metal called chondrules, which are believed to have formed during the early days of the solar system’s birth.
Scientists named the rare meteorite the Maryborough meteorite after the site where it was unearthed. Carbon dating of the meteorite suggests it landed between 100 and 1,000 years ago. The study describing the rare meteorite was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. Scientists also took time to compare it to similar sightings in history, and one of such discoveries was reported by Harry E. Hallett in a letter to The Argus in June 1923. At the time, he described how a “brilliant meteor… almost dazzled me, and horses out in the paddocks neighed such a neigh of fear that I will never forget it.”
The meteorite discovered by the Australian prospector weighs 37.5 pounds and is ranked as the second largest to ever be found in Victoria.