[meteorite-list] Evansville Man's Hobby Is Definitely Out Of This World
From: Rob and Colleen <iguana_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:44:39 2004
Seems like everyone is getting their 15 minutes. Congrats Rhett and Tracy.
Ron Baalke wrote:
> Evansville man's hobby is definitely out of this world
> By GARRET MATHEWS
> (812) 464-7527 or gmathews_at_evansville.net
> Evansville Courier & Press (Kentucky)
> March 15, 2001
> Rhett Bourland collects meteorites. He has pieces of the moon and Mars as
> well as assorted comets and asteroids.
> The 22-year-old Evansville man buys, sells and trades the things, mostly off
> the Internet. He has never found one 'in the wild,' to use his words, but
> it's not because he hasn't looked.
> 'Now that would really be a moment,' he says solemnly.
> Bourland has only been at this about two years, but already has around 70
> specimens. Many are quite small and are displayed individually in a locked
> He paid $200 for a Mars meteorite that's about as big as a fingernail. Only
> about 1 percent of meteorites are born there and that drives up the price.
> He says a more sizable chunk of Mars could be worth more than $500,000.
> He says meteorites are more than 4 billion years old, and that nickel and
> iron make up about 20 percent of a typical stone.
> Most meteorites are dark brown from their long journey through the white-hot
> atmosphere. Some may be rust-colored, depending on how long they've been on
> the ground. He says you can tell meteorites from ordinary rocks because of
> their magnetic field and isotope makeup.
> The expert - he's written on the subject for the Evansville Astronomical
> Society - will take your questions.
> Gee, Rhett, you sure have an unusual hobby.
> Not really. There are probably four people in the Tri-State who have smaller
> collections. Interest has really grown internationally since fossilized
> bacteria was found in a Mars rock in the mid-1990s. Such a discovery opens
> up the possibility of life on that planet, and that gets people's attention.
> Have you ever been ripped off when buying a meteorite?
> When they are so small, it does open up the possibility of deception. I lost
> $40 on one transaction when the dealer wasn't legit. But over time you know
> who to work with. I'm positive all of my meteorites are the real thing.
> How many meteorites are out there?
> Scientists estimate that 100,000 meteorites a quarter-pound and larger have
> fallen on the Earth. Approximately 7,000 have been positively identified.
> Each has a name, usually based on where it was found. Canyon Diablo, Gibeon,
> Tagish Lake - whatever. I have 1 percent of the total known population in my
> collection, and that's pretty cool.
> You paid $200 for a sliver of a meteorite. You must have tons of money to
> throw it around like that.
> Not really. I'm an out-of-work computer tech with a wife and a 1-year-old
> child. I don't care much about clothes or eating out. This is the only thing
> I splurge on.
> This buying and selling of meteorites - is it something you could make a
> living at?
> Definitely, but you'd have to be willing to travel to track down new finds.
> For example, the Sahara Desert is a very popular place for meteorite
> collectors. The nomads know there are crazy Americans who will pay fantastic
> money for dark-colored rocks and they'll take you right to them. If I had
> the money, that's where I'd go.
> Gee, Rhett, you really know your stuff. How much schooling have you had?
> I've got some college, but I didn't graduate. I took a geology course at
> USI. The teacher admitted I knew more about meteorites than she did, so when
> that part of the subject came up, I got to be the teacher. It was even
> better than going to the head of the class.
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Received on Fri 16 Mar 2001 08:05:20 PM PST