I may have found a couple of meteorites

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Please forgive the diversion, but how much are meteorites worth?
 

Ivan Seeking

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Please forgive the diversion, but how much are meteorites worth?
They have a wide range in price depending on rarity, type, size, appearance, and pedigree. Pieces of historic strikes can be exceedingly valuable. The prices seems to range from from perhaps $100 for a small, common meteorite, up to "priceless".

Here are some stone meteorites for sale. They range in price from about $200 to $3400. For comparison, my large stone is 34.9 grams.
http://www.aerolite.org/stone-meteorites.htm
 
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The third possibility that remains in my mind is that they might be some form of old foundry waste. That's why I brought up cast iron before and why I asked if you'd gone out hunting again. The more you find that you're sure aren't natural ores, the more likely it would be you're downstream from some old foundry. The further back in time you go the more irregular in composition the "slag" from such a foundry might be, with each frontier cottage foundry having more and more of it's own idiosyncratic "recipes" and procedures. With the flooding carrying things far from their source, they might be slag from a foundry 50 miles upstream that went out of business in 1824.
 

Ivan Seeking

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The third possibility that remains in my mind is that they might be some form of old foundry waste. That's why I brought up cast iron before and why I asked if you'd gone out hunting again. The more you find that you're sure aren't natural ores, the more likely it would be you're downstream from some old foundry. The further back in time you go the more irregular in composition the "slag" from such a foundry might be, with each frontier cottage foundry having more and more of it's own idiosyncratic "recipes" and procedures. With the flooding carrying things far from their source, they might be slag from a foundry 50 miles upstream that went out of business in 1824.
Something manmade seems the most likely alternate explanation. However, I know where the headwater is for this creek - it's only a few miles up in the hills - and there is nothing like a foundry between here and there, and never has been. I could see the possibility of an old abandoned mine being in the area but don't know of any. The other problem is that I would expect a higher density for any kind of alloy.

Another clue suggesting they are meteorites is that they are ferromagnetic, but not strongly so. If it was a chunk of metal, I would barely be able to peel it from the magnet.
 
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Something manmade seems the most likely alternate explanation. However, I know where the headwater is for this creek - it's only a few miles up in the hills - and there is nothing like a foundry between here and there, and never has been. I could see the possibility of an old abandoned mine being in the area but don't know of any. The other problem is that I would expect a higher density for any kind of alloy.

Another clue suggesting they are meteorites is that they are ferromagnetic, but not strongly so. If it was a chunk of metal, I would barely be able to peel it from the magnet.
You're right about the magnet if it were pure cast iron, but by "foundry waste" I meant some kind of slag: what they skim off the top of molten metal before they pour it. This would not have a high iron content.

I'm not sure you can be 100% certain there was no one casting iron in the area, ever. A local farrier or blacksmith might have had a side line casting plows or skillets, or bootjacks, or ornamental door knockers for that matter.

The reason I'm going on about this is that, while you say they didn't fail the streak test, they also didn't pass it. A meteorite should leave no streak. And, as you pointed out, you found two within a short distance of each other, which is unlikely for meteorites.
 

PAllen

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Don't know if this has come up, or is practical, but if you cut off a slice with a diamond saw, and grind on a lap with fine grit, nickel-iron meteorites look pretty distinctive. Of course, I (long ago) had all this equipment for gem cutting. Presumably, you may not have ready access.
 

Ivan Seeking

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You're right about the magnet if it were pure cast iron, but by "foundry waste" I meant some kind of slag: what they skim off the top of molten metal before they pour it. This would not have a high iron content.

I'm not sure you can be 100% certain there was no one casting iron in the area, ever. A local farrier or blacksmith might have had a side line casting plows or skillets, or bootjacks, or ornamental door knockers for that matter.

The reason I'm going on about this is that, while you say they didn't fail the streak test, they also didn't pass it. A meteorite should leave no streak. And, as you pointed out, you found two within a short distance of each other, which is unlikely for meteorites.
Good point. There was never a large foundry, but there could have been a small operation on a farm. We are just about at the end of civilization but there are a few more farms beyond here.

Also, the odds are a problem. If this is a meteorite, I must hold the world's record for the shortest hunt that ever produced one. Seriously, fifteen minutes from start to first find, is just crazy.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Don't know if this has come up, or is practical, but if you cut off a slice with a diamond saw, and grind on a lap with fine grit, nickel-iron meteorites look pretty distinctive. Of course, I (long ago) had all this equipment for gem cutting. Presumably, you may not have ready access.
I was hoping to run this by an expert before doing anything destructive. If I don't hear back from the meteorite lab soon, I will probably have it cut. We do have a gem shop nearby.
 

Ivan Seeking

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while you say they didn't fail the streak test, they also didn't pass it. A meteorite should leave no streak.
I meant to respond to this. Well, yes and no.

A meteorite, unless it is very heavily weathered, will not leave a streak on the tile.
http://epswww.unm.edu/iom/ident/index.html [Broken]

Is this heavily weathered? :confused: I interpreted the result to be indicative of something other than magnetite or hematite, but not definitive or strongly suggestive of a particular answer, beyond that.
 
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I meant to respond to this. Well, yes and no.


http://epswww.unm.edu/iom/ident/index.html [Broken]

Is this heavily weathered? :confused: I interpreted the result to be indicative of something other than magnetite or hematite, but not definitive or strongly suggestive of a particular answer, beyond that.
That's the thing, yes. They don't explain much about the "heavily weathered" possibility, what kind of streak that would leave, what other features it might have, how common it is.

There has been a resurgence of old tech among hobbyists such that people are melting and casting iron in their backyards today:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=melting+iron+at+home&aq=1&oq=melting+iron

This indicates that it was something any Smith might have been able to do on his own, no huge foundry operation needed. (You can actually even melt iron with charcoal; no coal or coke necessary.)

I know that Captain Cook's ships had an obligatory blacksmith on board to repair any broken iron fittings. While I've never read this, I would assume any cavalry or wagon train on the move would also have one, given all the horse shoes and wagons that needed tending to. Any logging operation might also have a mobile blacksmith as would any railroad crew, I think, pushing into a wilderness. There are plausible reasons you might find man made iron slag just about anywhere. So, if they're not ores, and not meteorites, that's what they might be.
 
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PAllen

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Back in the old days, when hobbyists could readily buy real chemicals, the mineral collector's test for nickel used Dimethylglyoxime. If you can get this it should be very easy to test for nickel.
 

arildno

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Why not run the following test, Ivan?

We know, on basis of Netonian gravitational theory that most meteorites go in hyperbolic orbits passing the earth just once.

Thus, if you just throw your stones into the air, they will follow their natural hyperbolic course if they are meteorites, if not, they will come back down.

:smile:
 

turbo

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Why not run the following test, Ivan?

We know, on basis of Netonian gravitational theory that most meteorites go in hyperbolic orbits passing the earth just once.

Thus, if you just throw your stones into the air, they will follow their natural hyperbolic course if they are meteorites, if not, they will come back down.

:smile:
:biggrin::rofl:
 
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Thus, if you just throw your stones into the air, they will follow their natural hyperbolic course if they are meteorites, if not, they will come back down.

:smile:
Sounds as if you are suggesting his rocks are "leaverites?"

Sometimes when I went rock hunting with my dad, I would show him what I thought was a cool stone and ask what it was, and he would tell me it was a leaverite. As in leave er rite there.

Even if Ivan's stones *are* leaverites, this is a cool thread.
 

DaveC426913

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arildno

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Your Dad was a wise man, MsMusic! :biggrin:
 

PAllen

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Ivan Seeking

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Ivan Seeking

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Your Dad was a wise man, MsMusic! :biggrin:
Oh good! An expert.

Please do tell. What is it, and how were you able to make that determination?
 

PAllen

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Thanks! I was looking around and found one site that says this is prone to false positives. So I guess a negative result is definitive, and a positive result is not. Perhaps cutting it open will be enough to determine if this is anything ineteresting.
It was the standard test by mineralogists, way back when. I think it does get confused with palladium, which might occur in jewelry, but is a very unlikely confusing factor for minerals or a meteorite. If you have any reluctance to cutting it, I would definitely try this first (grind a little fresh surface with alumina or silicon carbide sandpaper first).
 

Ivan Seeking

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It was the standard test by mineralogists, way back when. I think it does get confused with palladium, which might occur in jewelry, but is a very unlikely confusing factor for minerals or a meteorite. If you have any reluctance to cutting it, I would definitely try this first (grind a little fresh surface with alumina or silicon carbide sandpaper first).
Excellent! That sounds like the next best step. I'll get some on its way.

It's cheap. [and decent to very good scales are insanely cheap now!]
 
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Ivan, I just got back from one of my coffee shops where I talked to a woman (of about our age), and I mentioned your quest for meteorites to her. It spurred her into a long reminiscence about her father who was a metal detector treasure hunter freak. She inherited his finds. She said she had at least 20 tubes of silver dollars (she indicated a length of about ten inches per tube with her hands) that he had found. I thought that was a awful lot, and asked where he'd found them. She said he hunted for old farmsteads and scoured them with the detector. Apparently it was very, very common for people to distrust banks and their relatives, and to simply bury their savings around the property in tin cans. Mostly he found cans of coins, but once he found a crumbling can full of two dollar silver certificates. Thought I'd mention it, since you live on an old farm.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Ivan, I just got back from one of my coffee shops where I talked to a woman (of about our age), and I mentioned your quest for meteorites to her. It spurred her into a long reminiscence about her father who was a metal detector treasure hunter freak. She inherited his finds. She said she had at least 20 tubes of silver dollars (she indicated a length of about ten inches per tube with her hands) that he had found. I thought that was a awful lot, and asked where he'd found them. She said he hunted for old farmsteads and scoured them with the detector. Apparently it was very, very common for people to distrust banks and their relatives, and to simply bury their savings around the property in tin cans. Mostly he found cans of coins, but once he found a crumbling can full of two dollar silver certificates. Thought I'd mention it, since you live on an old farm.
Wow! That would be cool.

The nice thing about this creek is that it just keeps pumping in new material each year. So in addition to the five acres we have, which I have yet to work, the creek is a constant source of new potential finds.

Funny, the metal detector seems to have died the day after I used it. It worked great for a little over an hour, and that was it. Now it keeps getting false detections. I told the guy who loaned it to me who now admits that it's been marginal for a long time. So I'll have to get something else to use.

Something else we find a lot of is petrified wood. Some of it is pretty valuable. I gave a friend one big piece that was probably worth about $500.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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The meteorite lab called back today. I wasn't here to take the call and I'm hoping this won't become a game of phone tag. But I had given a fairly detailed description of the large stone, including the density, so a call back is encouraging.
 

Ivan Seeking

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You're right about the magnet if it were pure cast iron, but by "foundry waste" I meant some kind of slag: what they skim off the top of molten metal before they pour it. This would not have a high iron content.

I'm not sure you can be 100% certain there was no one casting iron in the area, ever. A local farrier or blacksmith might have had a side line casting plows or skillets, or bootjacks, or ornamental door knockers for that matter.

The reason I'm going on about this is that, while you say they didn't fail the streak test, they also didn't pass it. A meteorite should leave no streak. And, as you pointed out, you found two within a short distance of each other, which is unlikely for meteorites.
Good point. There was never a large foundry, but there could have been a small operation on a farm. We are just about at the end of civilization but there are a few more farms beyond here.
Another even more likely possibility occurred to me: Illegal dumps! Happens all the time. In fact, that's probably how we got a few of our cats over the years. People dump them in the hills. Then they follow the creek and eventually land in my barn or at our back door.

Right now, I'd bet this explains it. It's something man made that was dumped in the hills, who knows when. It could have been deposited over many hundreds or even thousands of acres, 100 years ago or more. For that matter, in the extreme, it could have been carried here by the Great Missoula Floods. Or, the guy up the road might have a small foundry.

Just based on what we know about it, I tend to think it might be a meteorite, but I can't believe I could find one so fast. That just doesn't seem possible. And as you said, Zooby, finding two makes it even more unlikely. One could be a fragment from the other but that certainly isn't clear. And finding them so close together seems equally unlikely in a normally rapidly flowing creek. If this does check out to be a meterorite, I think this episode qualifies for entry into both Ripleys and The Guinness Book.
 
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