[meteorite-list] Great British Meteorite Hunt

From: Martin Altmann <Altmann_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Aug 9 21:55:17 2004
Message-ID: <004d01c47e7d$a7846520$d57eebd9_at_9y6y40j>

They are strange, those Brits....
....but they have great laws for finders.
So please, Elliott,old scottmen, send the Queen to Australia and Canada to
get the rules
straight there!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Notkin" <geoking_at_notkin.net>
To: <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 9:28 PM
Subject: [meteorite-list] Great British Meteorite Hunt

> Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea, while hunting? : )
> Geoff N.
> *******************
> >From London's "Independent," August 9, 2004
> http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=549371
> Hunt begins for Britain's elusive stones from space
> By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
> 09 August 2004
> Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it perhaps a great big bundle of cash?
If it is a meteorite that fell through the sky and landed in your back
garden, it could well turn out to be the last, and this week you will be
given a few handy tips on how to find it.
> The Great British Meteorite Hunt starts today, a cross-country quest to
find the elusive space rocks, which can be worth thousands of pounds. Each
year, more than 30 meteorites are thought to fall on British soil, yet only
20 have been found, and scientists believe there must be thousands more
waiting to be discovered.
> A new BBC 2 and Open University astronomy series, Stardate, will show
successful meteorite prospectors in a programme in September. A website
called www.Open2. net/astronomy offers tips on where to look and how to
recognise a space rock. Organisers hope thousands of people will join the
> The scientific value of meteorites which may be billions of years old is
enormous. "These are the oldest objects you can handle," said Richard
Greenwood, the Open University's meteorite curator. "They tell us about the
formation of the solar system and the stars that lived and died before the
solar system formed."
> But the manna-from-heaven aspect may be the biggest encouragement to
searchers, because a discovery can makethem rich. Meteorites can be worth
from ?20, to many thousands, depending on their weight,composition,
appearance, and origin.
> In 2000, Gary Wennihan, an American farmer, found an unusual rock weighing
a little over 4lbs (2kgs) in his field of soya beans in Fairfax, Missouri.
It is, in fact, a rare meteorite that could be worth up to $1m (?550,000).
Many meteorites are sought by private collectors, with those from Mars -
chunks of rock blown into space by asteroids or comets- among the most
valuable. Others fetching a good price are linked to historical stories
about how they fell and were discovered.
> "Collecting meteorites is certainly one of the most unusual hobbies," said
Rob Elliott, Britain's leading meteorite dealer, based in Fife. "But holding
a piece of four-and-half-billion-year-old space rock in your hand can really
stir the imagination with a sense of awe and wonderment."
> Meteorites have been found in Middlesbrough, Wold Cottage, Appley Bridge,
Rowton, Barwell, Glatton, Aldsworth, Ashdon, Launton, Hatford, Danebury and
Stretchleigh in England; in Glenrothes, Strathmore, Perth and High Possil in
Scotland; in Pontlyfni and Beddgelert in Wales; and in Bovedy and Crumlin in
Northern Ireland.
> Dr Greenwood said. "You could look where other meteorites have been found,
because, statistically, there is a higher chance of finding others, or, if
you seek something unique, search in a place where none has been found.
> Under UK law, a small sample of the meteorite - 20 per cent of the total
mass, or 20gms, whichever is the smaller - must be donated to an
institution. The rest is owned by the finder, and/or landowner.
> Meteorites are stones from space. There are three main kinds: stoney,
iron, and stoney-iron. Most are thought to be small pieces of asteroids,
though some may be from the heads of comets.
> Rare ones have come from other planets, especially the Moon and Mars.
Falls that are witnessed yield higher-value meteorites, no matter what
> Meteorites can be travelling at 150,000 mph in space and most break up in
the upper atmosphere. About 100 tons of meteorites get through to land on
Earth every day, but nearly all are dust-sized grains that nobody notices.
> Two-thirds of the Earth is ocean, so most sink. The best place to find
meteorites is the Antarctic: the dark rocks can be spotted more easily on
the white ice. Only 20 or 30 new meteorite falls are found every year. Large
ones, bigger than an egg, are scarce. They are often not recognised at
first, and been used as blacksmith anvils, dog bowls, or to prop up
machinery or cars.
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Received on Mon 09 Aug 2004 09:59:21 PM PDT

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