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Australian Man Kept Unique Rock Assuming it's Gold. It Turned Out to Be Meteorite

According to Science Alert, scientists do not know where the meteorite came from and how long it has been on Earth. (Representative Image, Credits: Shutterstock)

According to Science Alert, scientists do not know where the meteorite came from and how long it has been on Earth. (Representative Image, Credits: Shutterstock)

Melbourne museum geologist Dermot Henry who went on to co-author a study on the rock in 2019 told The Sydney Morning Herald, 'It had this sculpted, dimpled look to it. That's formed when they come through the atmosphere, they are melting on the outside, and the atmosphere sculpts them.'

For six years, an Australian man believed that the unique piece of rock he had stumbled upon contained gold, since it was found in Maryborough, the Goldfields region, where the Australian gold rush peaked in the 19th century. However, after multiple attempts of cracking open the nugget-looking rock failed, David Hole realised that what he had discovered was not just any other rock but a meteorite and much more valuable than gold. It happened when Hole took the rock to the Melbourne Museum for identification that he realised what it truly was. Melbourne museum geologist Dermot Henry who went on to co-author a study on the rock in 2019 told The Sydney Morning Herald, “It had this sculpted, dimpled look to it. That’s formed when they come through the atmosphere, they are melting on the outside, and the atmosphere sculpts them.”

The study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoriain 2019 found that the rock is a 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite, which the scientists have called Maryborough after the town near where it was found. The rock weighs 17 kilograms and after using a diamond saw to cut off a small slice, scientists discovered that its composition has a high percentage of iron, which made it a H5 ordinary chondrite.

After opening the rock, tiny crystallized droplets of metallic minerals throughout it called chondrules, were made visible. Carbon dating of the rock has suggested that the meteorite has been on Earth between 100 and 1,000 years. In the past century and millennium, several meteor sightings have taken place.

According to Science Alert, scientists do not know where the meteorite came from and how long it has been on Earth. However, they know that the Solar System was once a revolving pile of dust and chondrite rocks. When gravity pulled most of this material together into planets, the leftovers mostly ended up in a huge asteroid belt. It is most likely that the meteorite arrived on Earth from this asteroid belt.

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first published:November 25, 2021, 11:32 IST