I know how we can make extra money while we’re out in the boondocks hunting for a bronze chest…Considerable extra money. One of the guys looking for Forrest’s treasure told him he collected $16K for something he found laying around in New Mexico. I’m not kidding!
Its a rock. Not a very interesting looking rock either. Well…I actually don’t know what it looks like since I didn’t see it but I’ve looked at photos of similar rocks, have seen a few others collected by different individuals and own a small one I found many years ago. They are not exactly pretty rocks. In fact, unless you know what you’re looking at most of us would just step right over the darn things.
What makes these particular rocks interesting to collectors is that they are aliens. That is to say, they don’t come from here. By here, I mean planet Earth. They come from outer space and not from good old baby blue. They fall out of the sky and impact our round, known world…splat! They are called meteorites.
If you stay out at night and glance up in the sky you’ve probably seen a shooting star or two..That’s a meteorite..a piece of rock from another world that just blew into our atmosphere and started to burn up. Folks who know a lot more than I ever will about meteorites, tell me that most tend to completely burn up before they can even hit good old Earth. Still, according to Wikipedia, some 500 or so each year make it to impact. A collision with Earth will sometimes cause them to self destruct throwing pieces of themselves all over the place. Shrapnel! Find a good sized chunk and you’ve got a nice little bonus. Smaller ones can just bury themselves where they hit.
Sometimes a crater is so big they can fit an entire town inside one. This is the town of Nordlingen in Bavaria, Germany. The town is ancient and for centuries the inhabitants had no idea they were living in a meteorite induced crater.
The meteorite chunk that was found by our fellow searcher weighed 8lbs. It yielded $16K…if my old analog math is still functional in the digital age that’s $2K per lb…and they’re heavy rocks. One of the ways you can begin to tell a meteorite from an authentic Earth rock is by it’s weight. Meteorites tend to be much heavier than you’d expect.
Okay…so how do we find one…?
Lucky for us meteorites have fallen in New Mexico and Montana and Wyoming among other states…other nations. When they hit they can form large or small craters depending on the size of the rock. If they have recently fallen the crater is fresh looking. Over time they erode and blend in. Most of the known fallen meteorites have been mapped. Maybe one has fallen near your house. According to Washington University over 1,500 meteorites are known to have fallen in the USA. 218 of those are in New Mexico. This is nowhere near the assumed total number that scientists predict have hit in the USA. That’s just the known…mapped ones. So there are thousands and thousands more that no one knows about…What are we waiting for?
This website from the University of New Mexico will help you get started.
You don’t need a permit to collect them. You don’t need a license to hunt for them. So far the government isn’t interested in them. All you have to worry about is getting caught trespassing…or finding one so big you can’t carry it out. Immigration laws don’t apply to alien rocks. Be the first in your neighborhood to own a chunk of outer space.
Lets get going!