It was a beautiful sunny day. David Hole made his way through the brush, listening carefully for his detector to beep. He explored the plains in Maryborough Regional Park, the peak of Australia’s gold rush in the 19th century. The goal of his trip was therefore clear. He hoped to find a forgotten nugget of precious metal.
After a few hours, the high pitched sound really started. The man bent down and grabbed a 39 cm long rock. But lifting it with one hand was impossible. The boulder was incredibly heavy. “I will be rich,” thought the happy finder. The idea of a golden nugget hidden in the rock drove him home. He didn’t wait for anything and headed to the workshop.
Days passed. The detectorist was already losing patience. He’s tried everything. Saw, angle grinder, drill and even acid. The body still held together. He angrily placed it on the shelf. “Maybe I’ll think of something later,” he sighed. But he was wrong. Six years later, he therefore decided to turn to the experts.
A rare stone
David stood in front of geologists Dermot Henry and Bill Birch from the Melbourne Museum. “I found him in the park. It weighs seventeen kilograms. That’s clear evidence that it’s made of gold, isn’t it?” he blurted out. The scientists looked at each other. It was immediately clear to them that the reddish stone did not hide the precious metal. “He had such neat dimples,” Henry recalled. “They could have been created in only one way. While flying through space.”
Credit Museums Victoria
Radial pyroxene chondrule
Laboratory analysis confirmed their suspicions. The boulder came from space and is 4.6 billion years old. In addition to iron and nickel, it hid droplets of silicate minerals, called chondrules. “They come from the super-hot cloud of gas from which our solar system formed. Thanks to them, we can transport ourselves back in time and find out how it probably all happened,” explains the geologist.
Similar objects cluster in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. When they occasionally bump into each other, they can veer off course. The Maryborough meteorite probably met a similar fate. Carbon dating suggests it hit Earth between 100 and 1,000 years ago.
“The body is much more precious than gold. It is only the second of its kind to be found in the Australian state of Victoria, while thousands of gold nuggets have been discovered,” says Dermot Henry. Local reports from 1889 to 1951 reported several sightings of meteors in the Maryborough district, but suggest that there may be more such stones.
Meteorite at Maryborough. Credit Museums Victoria (Rod Start) – 2
“If people bring us more pieces, we won’t be angry,” laughs the geologist. “They provide the cheapest form of space exploration.” At the same time, meteorite hunters can look forward to a reward. The value of the boulder found by David Hole, for example, rose to 100 thousand dollars, i.e. more than two million crowns.
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