I kept a dirty stone on my shelf for years without knowing it was invaluable … I can not believe what it really is

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A TREASURY hunter who found a gravel stone kept it on a shelf for several years – before he found out that it was much more valuable than he could have imagined.

David Hole hoped that there could be a nugget of gold inside the rough brown lump, but it was so tough that his power tool did not make a dent.

The heavy lump has rusty pits everywhere

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The heavy lump has rusty pits everywhereCredit: Museums Victoria
Experts say it is a rare meteorite from the birth of our solar system

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Experts say it is a rare meteorite from the birth of our solar systemCredit: Museums Victoria

It was only years later that an expert told him that it is actually an incredibly rare 4.6 billion year old meteorite.

Experts say that only a handful of space rocks of this size have fallen in the region in the last century.

David found it in 2015 with his metal detector when he scrubbed the yellow clay in Maryborough, near Melbourne, which is known as the site of the Australian gold rush during the nineteenth century.

It weighs a full 17 kg – about 40 pounds – and looks metallic with rusty pits everywhere.

David hoped he would find gold inside, so he took it home and started trying to crack it.

A rock saw, a drill, an angle grinder and even heavy blows from a sledgehammer bounced off the tough surface.

David also tried to pour it in acid but failed to make a scratch.

“What the hell is this,” he said to himself.

The unearthly stone then collected dust for four years until he took it to be checked at the Melbourne Museum.

Experts told him it contained something much rarer than gold: metal raindrops from the dawn of our solar system, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

It was created from the swirling cloud of debris surrounding the newborn sun, which also formed the planets including the earth.

It spent 4.6 billion years in orbit before crashing into Australia sometime in the last 1,000 years, experts say.

Geologist Dermot Henry said that during his 37 years of work in the area, he had only encountered two real meteorites.

He said: “This is just the 17th meteorite found in Victoria, while thousands of gold nuggets have been found.

“If you look at the chain of events, it’s pretty, you could say, astronomical that it’s discovered at all.”

He added: “It had this sculpted, deepened look. It is formed when they come through the atmosphere.

“They melt on the outside and the atmosphere sculptes them.

“Meteorites provide the cheapest form of space exploration.

“They transport us back in time and provide clues to the age, formation and chemistry of our solar system.”

Crash landing

Researchers classified it as an H5 common chondrite meteorite, which means that it contains small crystallized metal droplets that are formed by rapid heating of the dust clouds in the early solar system.

It contains silicates, iron, nickel and magnesium, as well as small amounts of carbon and crystallized water.

It was most likely formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and was sent off course by a collision.

Carbon dating analysis puts its time on earth somewhere between 100 and 1,000 years.

Various meteorological observations over the last 150 years offer potential times for when it hit the earth in a burning streak.

Meteorite impacts are rare and usually hit uninhabited areas, but they are very often seen close to home.

In 2016, David Stevenson said he saw a red-hot space stone smash his garden fence and burn a hole in his lawn in Leeds, West Yorks.

And just last month, a meteorite crashed through a roof and landed on a Ruth Hamilton pillow in British Columbia, Canada.

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