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10.5 pound meteorite ?


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Hello,

 

First off let me start by saying that I am new to this whole meteorite thing. After my story you will know why I am here.  A number of years ago while we were on vacation we got a call that there was a lightining storm back home and that my parents front yard had caught on fire. An electrical line had broken and either sparks or lightning directly had apparently ignited the lawn. They said that the fire was easily put out and there was no damage to the house and no need to rush home so we didnt. Upon returning home however there was a large black circle in the lawn from where there had been fire and what looked like a bunch of black glass. In the middle we dug up a 10.5 pound rock with smooth edges and glass like qualities. The local firemen etc.. said that lightning must have fused the sand together to make the rock.  (There is a local news article that we saved and pictures of the lawn that I will try to dig up).  My father just thought it was cool so he saved it as a novelty item. Just last week while visiting him I noticed a black rock next to his garage outside and asked if that was the rock from the lightning storm. He said it was so I told him we should look up what "lightning rocks" are worth and if we could sell it.

 

After some google research we learned that lightning rocks are called fulgurites but we couldnt find anything close to what our rock looked like. Most were hollow and tube like and ours is not. We then found pictures of meteorites and our rock is much more consistent with their look. Our rock has some black coating  which could be "fusion crust", sticks to a magnet in some spots, has what seem to be thumblike impressions , has rust which you can see in the upper left of the photo and has the circular like grainules. Like I said I am no expert so I could just be selectivly seeing what I am looking for, as I have only seen meteorite photos and not in person. It certainly looks similar though. Is it possible that the fire was not caused from lightning but a meteor? I know meteors supposedly land cold so maybe it was the sparks from the electrical line that caused the fire and it was knocked off from the rock ? I am not sure because I honestly dont remember what the lawn looked like I will have to dig up the old photos but here are some pictures of the meteorite/fulgurite.  Any help would be appreciated as I am wondering if I should persue this further. I didnt do a context photo so it is hard to visualize the size but the rock is rather large and weighs around 10.5 pounds. Thanks in advance for your help

 

PhotobucketPhotobucket

 

 

Steve from NJ.

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Wow it does look like a lot like slag. Is slag always a man made by-product or can a fire naturally cause this process. The heat thing is what throws me off because there definitely was a fire which is why I was thinking if it was a meteorite maybe the electric line caused the fire? Also the rock isnt glass like the debri was. Anyway I am including day time photos below but it looks like its not a meteorite :( . Any ideas what it could possibly be? And its no longer sleeping with me its in the guest bed lol.

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Probably just a piece of volcanic glass that happened to be beneath the burn mark; I doubt the two are related.

Fulgurites are linear structures because they form along the path of the lightning bolt; this is definatly not a fulgurite, either. It is a pretty cool looking rock, though.

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Why don't you try to saw a small piece off of that and do some tests.

Firstly by sawing it you can see what the interior looks like and also by trying to saw it youcan tell by how the blade goes thru if its glass like or stone/metallic like.

Another thing that would be much easier would be to take a good swing with a hammer at an area that is near an edge and see if you can easily chip off a small piece REMEMBER to wear safety glasses.

Its a very interesting piece and I wish I could see it in person.

Depending what the outcome is with either sawing and or chipping a piece if it allows you to then further investigation could be warranted by a lab.

The reason I suggested trying a slight blow with a steel hammer on an edge is because it looks in the pictures to be a possible "glassey" volcanic piece and if it is it will fracture easily with a slight blow.

I like it its neat

Looks a whole hellofalot different in the daylight than artificial light thats why I suggested it

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Frank thanks I will give the saw and hammer thing a try, I just want to let my dad know before I alter his rock. I am also going to upload pictures of the impact/lightning strike site tomorrow when I find the pictures. My sister said she thinks she knows where they are.

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You don't have to deface the piece very much just the very edge with the hammer head striking away from the main mass.

Then you'll see if indeed it is a glassey or volcanic type structure or if the hammer bounces off without fracturing a small chip off.

I'm curious because recently I have been studying pictures of very old disintegrating meteorites that have been found and some indeed have shown similar outward characteristics.

Its probably not but needs closer examination.

Don't forget the safety glasses these things we do have a way of biting us in the ass/ eye when least expected.

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Frank, Yes the rock and I are currently in NJ and that it where it happened. My father still lives on the property in Wayne. Also I tried the hammer test and the hammer glanced off. I was able to knock off a very small piece of the outer edge/crust or whatever it is. I have included a picture, although it is in artificial light obviously because it is dark here now.>

Photobucket
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Also the circumstances in which we found it make it seem like a very strange coincidence. The entire ground around where this rock was found was crystalized. My sister said it looked like glass roots moving away from the center. That is why we just always thought it was lightning that created it. I know pictures will clear it up a lot better than explaining and I promise I will get them.

Also I am not saying that it is an impossible coicedence that a piece of slag happened to be right where whatever happened did, but it just seems so unlikely. Plus the fact that what would slag be doing in the yard, and if it was an old dumping site why havent we found more over the years?

Well I guess for now stay tuned for the pictures of the impact site. I am going to personally go help my dad and sister look for them because for 1.) I cant remember what the ground looked like so I want to remember. 2.) I think it will help you guys better understand where we found it, and why it would be so unlikely for slag to be there.

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So I couldnt find pictures of the yard quickly, I am still looking, but I think I found a possible explination. I found during my research that some times when power lines go down huge "man-made" fulgurites are made from them arcing and hitting the ground. This is probably what happened. The lightning probably didnt hit the lawn directly but rather the downed power line did and this is what started the fire and cause the ground and stone to fuse in the manner that it did rather than the normal "tube-like" fulgurites that natural lightning make. I am sending off the small peice to be evauluated by a lab anyway but I think this is the explination that makes the most sense.

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Yup, I just did a google image search for man-made fulgurite and found several images that look just like your rock, and they were made by high-voltage lines. Neat!

http://www.capturedl...om/2/blog/?p=17

Looks like you got it there Mike, good research, since SteveNJ's specimen is so big, it might even be worth a couple bucks.

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