In an amazing coincidence, one of Michigan’s largest meteorites remained undiscovered by experts for more than eight decades. The massive 10 kg (22 lb) space rock served as a modest door on a local farm until it caught the attention of the scientific community.
This amazing story began when David Mazurek, a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan, asked geologist Mona Sirbescu of Central Michigan University (CMU) to study the stone, which he had owned for 30 years. While such requests had led to disappointment in the past, this time was different.
Based on the results, Sirbescu determined that it was a meteorite, and not just any meteorite – it turned out to be an unusual specimen. This large iron-nickel stone, called the Edmore meteorite, contained a significant amount of nickel, about 12% of its composition.
The fascinating story of how the meteorite came into Mazurek’s hands only adds to its appeal. When Mazurek purchased a farm in Edmore, Michigan, in 1988, the previous owner showed him around the property. During the tour, Mazurek noticed an unusual-looking stone propping up a barn door. Intrigued, he asked what it was and was told it was a meteorite.
The elderly owner said that in the 1930s, he and his father witnessed a meteorite fall onto their property with a loud sound. The next morning, they discovered the crater and retrieved the still-warm meteorite from the resulting ditch. Because the meteorite was considered part of the property, it now belonged to Mazurek.
For three decades, Mazurek used the space rock as a doorstop, occasionally allowing his children to bring it to school for show-and-tell. However, after learning about the usefulness of small fragments of meteorite, he decided to have his colossal stone examined.
The revelation that his door stone was a valuable meteorite must have thrilled Mazurek. Meteorites, because of their rarity and scientific importance, often command a high price. In this case, Mazurek sold the Edmore meteorite to the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University for the impressive sum of $75,000. As a token of his appreciation, he promised to donate 10% of the proceeds to CMU’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, where Sirbescu identified the meteorite.
Edmore’s meteorite find underscores the importance of recognizing the potential value of seemingly ordinary objects. It serves as a reminder that extraordinary treasures can be found in the most unexpected places, even in a simple doorstep on a farm.