Author: David Cowley
Treasures are falling from the sky. A natural object originating in outer space that survives the impact with the earth’s surface is called a meteorite. Most meteoroids burn up when entering the Earth's atmosphere. However, it has been estimated that over 500 meteorites do reach the surface each year and they will range in size of a marble to basketball size or larger. Only about five or six will be recovered each year and pound for pound, meteorites are move valuable than gold.
If you are lucky enough to have discovered a meteorite you could get about $4.00 a gram or $125.00 an ounce. Meteorites have been found all over the world but some of the best hunting places to start looking for them include deserts and dry lake beds. Known meteorite impact areas like Barringer Meteor Craterin in Arizona and Odessa Meteor Crater in Texas can also produce good results. Meteorites have also been found in California, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nevada.
Chondrules meteorites is composed mostly of silicate and small amounts of organic matter. They are believed to have originated in the asteroid belt and are considered to be the building blocks of the planets. 86% of the meteorites that fall to the earths surface are Chondrites.
Achondrites meteorites is composed of igneous rocks that is believed to be the remains of the asteroid crust. Meteorites that have hit Mars and our Moon and have blown off material that has later found its way to earth fall into this category. 8% of the meteorites that fall to the earth are Achondrites.
An iron meteorite is thought to have been the core of asteroid that were once molted. The denser metal separated from the silicate and sank to the center of the asteroid. Later the asteroid collided with another asteroid and was broken up into smaller fragments. 5% of the recovered meteorites recovered fill into this category.
The last 1% is composed of iron and silicate materials.
Professional meteorite hunters will use custom designed and expensive tools. As a hobbyist you can hunt for meteorites with a metal detector, rock hammer, shovel, gloves and a rare earth magnet. Be very careful with rare earth magnets because they will damage credit cards, cell phones, computers, PDAs and other electronic equipment. Never care one near your wallet or in your pocket.
After finding a likely rock with your metal detector check your find with the rare earth magnet. If the magnet sticks, and the rock looks like it has been melted and some rust spots are evident then you may have found a Meteorite.
One final note. Always be on the lookout for crystals in your meteorites because it could be a diamond. The study published in 2006 analyzed the hydrogen in black diamond samples using infrared-detection instruments and found that the quantity indicated that the mineral formed in a supernova explosion prior to the formation of the Solar System. These diamonds were formed by carbon-rich cosmic dust in an environment near carbon stars. The diamonds were incorporated into solid bodies that subsequently fell to Earth as meteorites. If you really want a piece of history then consider looking for meteorites. You may end up with something as the solar system itself.
Happy Treasure Hunting.
David Cowley has created numerous articles on Treasure Hunting. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to Treasure Hunting. Visit Treasure Hunting