- uploaded: Nov 12, 2011
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In 2006, a farmer found a meteorite buried in a hillside in the Missouri town of Conception Junction (population 202). But only now has the true value of the space rock discovery come to light. Geochemist Randy Korotev of Washington University in St. Louis and his colleagues have identified the space rock as a rare type of pallasite meteorite, the researchers said today (Nov. 10). Only 19 other pallasites had ever been found in the United States before. The meteorite traveled a long road to find its way into Korotev's hands. Researchers think this meteorite was once part of an asteroid that orbited the sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. At some point, this fragment was knocked into an orbit that crossed Earth's path, and it was pulled down to our planet by gravity. Scientists aren't sure when the meteorite hit Earth, but it was uncovered in 2006 when a farmer, who asked to remain anonymous, found an especially heavy rock in the hillside of Conception Junction. Though the stone looked ordinary from the outside, when the farmer sawed off an edge of it, a beautiful and unusual interior was revealed. Green crystals of a mineral called olivine were sprinkled throughout an iron-nickel matrix like chocolate chips in a cookie. These are the markings of a pallasite. Pallasites, which contain a mixture of metal and rock, are thought to come from the boundary in an asteroid between its metal core and the olivine mineral in its middle layer, called the mantle ...