A rock that was used as a door stop for three decades has turned out to be a meteorite worth $100,000 (£76,000).
A Michigan-based man was gifted the rock by a farmer in 1988 when he bought his property.
The previous owner said he had seen the meteorite coming down at night some time during the 1930s, adding that it was still warm when he dug it out of the crater.
The owner thought little of it and kept it as a door stop, until recently when he decided to find out how much his strange rock was worth.
Mona Sirbescu, a geology faculty member in earth and atmospheric sciences at Central Michigan University examined it under X-ray fluorescence.
‘I could tell right away that this was something special,’ she said.
She found that it was an iron-nickel meteorite with about 88 per cent iron and 12 per cent nickel, a metal rarely found on Earth.
Iron meteorites typically consist of approximately 90-95 percent iron, with the remainder composed of nickel and trace amounts of heavy metals including iridium, gallium and sometimes gold.
‘It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically,’ Dr Sirbescu said.
‘Just think, what I was holding is a piece of the early solar system that literally fell into our hands’, she said.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, obtained the meteorite when he bought his farm in Edmore, Michigan, about 30 miles (48km) southwest of Mount Pleasant.
As the farmer was showing him around the property, they went out to a shed.
The man asked about the large, odd-looking rock that was holding the door open.
A rock (pictured) that was used as a door stop for three decades has turned out to be a meteorite worth $100,000 (£76,000). A Michigan-based man was gifted the rock by a farmer in 1988 when he bought his property
The previous owner said he had seen the meteorite coming down at night some time during the 1930s, adding that it was still warm when he dug it out of the crater
The farmer said it was a meteorite that ‘made a heck of a noise when it hit’ Earth back in the 1930s.
The farmer told the man that it was part of the property so he could have it.
The current owner kept it for 30 years, using it as a doorstop and sending it to school with his children for show and tell.
It has been named the Edmore meteorite, after the place in which it fell.
A sample has been sent to John Wasson, professor emeritus in the earth, planetary and space sciences department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He is doing a neutron activation analysis to determine its chemical composition.
There is a possibility that the analysis could reveal rare elements that could increase its value.
The largest meteorite found on Earth was the Hoba in Namibia, weighing 66 tons.
Experts think it hit Earth 80,000 years ago. It is made up mostly of iron and nickel, just like the Edmore meteorite.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPACE ROCKS?
An asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.
This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they are vapourised in the atmosphere.
If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is called a meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.