Great Balls of Fire

Don Wesson realized his favorite rock might be more than just a curiosity after viewing a TV show about meteorites. He talked about it with a Washington Minerological Society club member at a county fair. He showed it to the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University. And he learned that it came from space.

A truly amazing story,” commented David Klaus. “An elderly guy out of the Dukes of Hazzard finds an interesting rock by the roadside, puts it in the back of his truck, and sticks it in his garden for eleven years. They think it landed in Oregon 200-800 years ago, and it’s actually 4.5 BILLION years old, part of the formation of the solar system!”

I’ve been accused before of publishing Chicken Little stories before, but scientist Dick Pugh says the sky really is falling. Part of it, anyway.

Pugh is one of several PSU faculty members who contribute to the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory website, a fascinating place to visit.

To gain skill in distinguishing genuine meteorites from terrestrial junk, take the interactive meteorite ID exercise.

And another online exhibit displays commonly misidentified rocks called “meteor-wrongs.”

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

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