A Day Long Ago
He looked over at the old shed door and remembered the day he had first looked at this house. Now the television was telling him things that he simply couldn’t fathom. How could all these years have passed and he had done nothing?
He’d always known that rock was special, now scientists could show him just how special it really was.
We’ve All Been There
Admit it, you too have dreamed about a day where the old coins Grandpa Joe gave you were finally evaluated and found to be one of a kind, extremely rare and insanely valuable.
Or that painting your auntie with a slight hoarding problem picked up at a yard sale for five bucks is, in fact, an original, undiscovered Monet. What are the chances?
Everyone dreams of the seemingly worthless things sitting around their homes making them a millionaire, and for some, this dream may actually come true. Not a day goes by when Antiques Road Show doesn’t discover someone with a family heirloom worth a few thousand dollars, and it is wonderful that these, often historical, pieces have been, in most cases, so well preserved and cared for.
Unlike what this man and even the man before him did to this one of a kind piece.
A New House
Thirty years had passed since David Mazurek had bought his farm in Edmore, Michigan and he can still tell you exactly what happened the day he went to see the place for himself.
He remembers being shown the farm in its entirety and noticing nothing out of the ordinary except for a large, odd-looking rock that was propped up against the barn door. He was to soon learn that there was much more to this simple rock than met the eye.
The Edmore, Michigan farm he was looking to purchase back in 1988 wasn’t exactly brand new, but Mazurek still wanted to know exactly what he was getting himself into.
But after a while, he just couldn’t help himself. He thought it might be a silly question to come round looking at a house and instead of asking about a rock. And the straight-faced answer he got from the owner only baffled him more.
Just Had To
Finally, Mazurek asked, “What in the world is that thing?” It was unlike any rock or stone he’d ever seen before. That’s when the farmer revealed that it wasn’t of our world at all.
The rock had a long story behind it, one that seems straight from a novel or a movie, but the farmer recounted his tale with sincerity and seriousness.
A Tall Tale
“He went on to say that in the 1930s he and his father saw it come down at night on their property ‘and it made a heck of a noise when it hit’,” Mazurek would later tell the press.
“In the morning they found the crater and dug it out. It was still warm.” Something didn’t add up for Mazurek, if it was a space stone why was it used as a doorstop?
A Mere Doorstop
That thought may have very well colored his opinion of the dull space rock. If for thirty or forty years someone used something as a valueless object it clearly wasn’t actually worth anything, right?
And so for another thirty years, the rock remained as it had for decades, on the floor in the dusty shed, propping open a barn door. Until another meteorite shower occurred.
Another Meteor Shower
The family knew it was special in an unrealized and overlooked kind of way. They basically took a piece of another world completely for granted until more rocks fell from the sky and people began featuring on the evening news.
People all over Michigan were finding meteorites in their own backyards following a meteor shower in 2018, and they certainly weren’t using them as doorstops.
Prompted By Unseen Riches
More than a few people had realized that there was an opportunity to earn a neat sum of money from the little space rocks scattered across Michigan.
Prompted by the sudden wave of excitement in meteorites, Mezurek decided that there may be more to the rock that his children had brought to school for show-and-tell all these years.
But Was It Real?
But first things first. He had to see whether his strange stone was, in fact, the real deal, or just a tall tale told by a farmer making up stories to spice up his quiet country life or add intrigue and mystery to the farm he was selling.
So, was this a true meteorite, or just an unusual rock?
Knowing The Right People
It wasn’t difficult to find out who was the right person to contact in the event that you find a meteorite, especially since Mezurek had a friend who had once studied geology at Central Michigan University.
He was soon on the phone to one Dr. Mona Sirbescu, a professor at CMU. She agreed to examine the 80-year-old rock but wasn’t optimistic as to its outcome. She was about to be proven very wrong.
Everyone And Their Dog
It seemed every Tom, Dick, and Harry had come to the Geology professor over the years and she had examined hundreds of suspected meteorites. But only a small handful of those “extraterrestrial objects” turned out to be anything other than mere ordinary rocks. “People bring meteorite suspects all the time, but it turns out they’re not meteorites; they are meteor-wrongs for the most part.”
The moment she laid eyes on the ‘doorstop’ she knew it wasn’t any old rock. Tests were needed to confirm anything further.
She then sent two small slices of the rock to the Smithsonian for confirmation. “I could tell right away that this was something special,” Dr. Mona Sirbescu said. “It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically.”
The professor believed that if it was what they thought it was it was, it could easily fetch up to $100,000! Mezurek was floored by the revelation.
Weighing over 22 pounds, Mazurek’s meteorite was now the sixth-largest space stone of its kind to be recovered in Michigan. With a pedigree like this, Dr. Sirbescu was confident that the rock could fetch a ton at auction.
But just before she sent the specimens away she recounts her initial process.
“Just before I did that, we used an x-ray fluorescence instrument—or XRF—to connect the chemical composition, and that fell right in the field where it belongs to in terms of concentration of iron and nickel.”
“Separately, Dr. Cari Corrigan at the Smithsonian conducted another microscopy, and she confirmed without a doubt that it is an iron meteorite.”
What Does It Look Like?
What does this rock look like? Dr. Mona Sirbescu goes on to explain, “The whole meteorite is basically a metallic object. It has a very irregular shape. It has the typical little indentations like thumbprints which are caused by partial melting as the meteorite burns.”
And it is without a doubt 100% authentic, the specific pattern called widmanstätten proves that. Here is how.
It’s A German Name
“That widmanstätten pattern is revealed on the fresh surface that I cut after adding a bit of acid with a certain concentration.”
“That pattern is unique. You cannot reproduce it on Earth. It cannot be faked.” Dr. Mona Sirbescu finished.
Geologist Catherine Corrigan was the first person to examine the stone. It only took a few tests to confirm it. Now she could corroborate Dr. Sirbescu’s findings and wait to see what would become of Mazurek’s incredible find.
He had two options if he wanted to sell the meteorite; sell the stone to a museum, or sell it to a private collector looking to turn a profit. Either way, Mazurek was determined to put the proceeds from the meteorite to good use.
Would He Sell?
If he did decide to sell the stone, Mazurek vowed to donate ten percent of the sale to CMU to provide funding for further geological studies. Regardless of the donation, however, Dr. Sirbescu insisted that being able to study the meteorite was gift enough.
“Just think, what I was holding is a piece of the early solar system that literally fell into our hands,” Dr. Sirbescu recalled. Mazurek’s meteorite – now dubbed the Edmore meteorite – continues to be analyzed in the hope of discovering rarer elements within.