[meteorite-list] Indiana Rock Likely Came From Earth, Scientist Says

Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Dec 12 11:31:12 EST 2003


Burning rock likely came from Earth, scientist says
By Andy Gammill
December 12, 2003
Indiana University scientists have concluded that a 4-inch rock that 
crashed into a Shelby County construction site probably isn't a meteorite.

That leaves an even bigger mystery: where exactly the rock came from, and 
how it burned itself 7 inches deep into a pile of foam insulation.

Bob and Brian Weddle, the Shelby County homebuilders who found it two weeks 
ago, want to know what the rock is and said they plan to have other 
experts look at it.

Nelson Shaffer, a researcher at the Indiana Geological Survey, took samples 
of the rock Thursday and examined them at his Bloomington laboratory. Tests 
suggest an earthly origin, he said.

If the rock is a meteorite, it's unlike any ever found before, he said.
Meteorites are so rare that Shaffer has found only two since he began 
studying them in 1974.

Shaffer's tests confirmed that the rock contains quartz, which has never 
been found on a meteorite. Plus, the rock isn't metallic and doesn't have 
the glassy coating usually found on meteorites, he said.

The Weddles have heard from several other experts and called a few on their 
own to try to find out what the rock is.

They have found themselves inundated with calls from the media, meteorite 
hounds and the curious.

An Indianapolis television station offered to take the object to the Field 
Museum or the Smithsonian Institution for further study, Bob Weddle said.

Shaffer said they were right to bring in experts so quickly. Scientists can 
glean important details about space by studying "fresh" meteorites, he said.

For now, the Weddles are trying to manage the rock and its attention while 
still managing to work on the home where they found it, said Bob Weddle, 51.


rock half buried in styrafoam layers

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