[meteorite-list] Glenn Huss Article
From: AL Mitorling <mittmet51_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2020 08:40:35 -0500
I found this article in my files from way back. This is some 50 years ago.
Things we think to be true now, may change in thirty, forty or fifty years
from now so I ask the readers to simply be amused and not too judgemental.
Things have changed a great deal with regards to our knowledge of
meteorites and meteoritics from that time. I re-typed the article and
edited it some to make it smaller, so could have left something out but
over all this is what was said.
--AL Mitterling (Mitterling Meteorites)
Those Unwanted Rocks May be Worth Money
By Glen Huss
Many farm and ranch operators are failing to tap a natural resource of
additional income from their land. This won't make anyone suddenly wealthy,
but might bring in as much as $50 or $100 or more and doesn't require any
investment or much extra effort in order to do.
You won't have to buy anything and there isn't a secret formula. It's
simply necessary to observe during the course of everyday work, any unusual
rocks which may be laying around. They could turn out to be meteorites.
Each year there is a minimum of 2,500 meteorite falls and each fall usually
consists of more than one meteorite. It is estimated each square mile of
the surface of the earth receives a meteorite at least once in a couple
thousand years. Most meteorites are composed primarily of stone (only three
in 100 are iron-nickel) and are not recognized because they are of such
common construction. Some have been ploughed up and discarded in a fence or
rock pile. Some end up in ravine or put up near a barn. Others may be
pressed into service around the farm or ranch for their weight. One
recently was found being used to keep a yard gate closed.
They have come to earth after having traveled in space for un-known periods
of time. Because they are made of some of the same elements found in earth
type rocks, they have much to tell us of space flight upon various types of
stone and metal.
Meteorites are thought to be the fragmental remains of asteroidal (or
planetoid) bodies formed upon the birth of the solar system. Except for the
changes induced by cosmic and solar radiation, they remain unaltered until
they reach earth. For this reason meteorites can teach us about the basic
structure of the solar system and our own earth.
By studying the reaction of certain compounds to the cosmic bombardment
which meteorites undergo in space, we may find the clue necessary for the
control of diseases and other human ailments.
The fall of a meteorite is a spectacular sight and one which the beholder
is not likely to forget. In space this chunk of stone or metal has traveled
around the sun on an orbit of its own. During the years of its existence as
an individual body in space, the gravitational pull of various larger
bodies has gradually changed its orbit until it has been brought onto a
collision course with earth.
Its speed relative to the sun is about 26.2 miles per second (94,320 miles
while earth is traveling about 18.5 miles per second. The meteorite bores
into the atomsphere surrounding the earth. Friction of air molecules upon
its surface creates intense surface heat. A brilliant meteor, or fireball,
is produced by combining vaporized meteorite material with the gases of the
The blazing flight of the meteor is over within a few seconds. The speed of
the space visitor is so great that it captures air in front of it much like
an open hand pushed into a snow bank captures snow. Intense pressure is
built up and the meteor is crushed by the air. The meteor or light,
disappears and the fragments of the invading body fall quietly to the earth
with a speed of only 900 to 1000 feet per second. Unless one is close to
the spot at which they strike, so sound will be heard from them, but the
thunder of the explosion which accompanies the break up of the invading
meteorite body can sometimes be heard for 50 miles.
Stones that reach the ground are coated with a black, satiny coating
because their outside has been seared by the heat of the explosion which
accompanied the break-up of their parent in the air. They are of almost any
shape with their corners dulled or rounded. Meteorites are heavier than the
other stones of the field because of the bits of metal which they contain.
Under the black crust, stone of a lighter color is usually found. (It can
sometimes be nearly black also) and bright silvery metal are revealed when
the stone is held to an emery wheel for a moment. Of course, if the
meteorite is of solid metal, it will show silvery bright throughout its
As a meteorite lies in the soil for a period of time, its black coating
begins to turn rust-brown. This is because some of the metal in it has
begun to rust and stain the stone. After a few years, one may have to
observe more carefully to notice this rust stained stone among the other
stones in the field. However grinding a corner with an emery wheel or with
sandpaper (never with a file) will still reveal the bright white grains of
Any stone or iron object which resembles the above description may be a
meteorite worth money. It should be subjected to more exhaustive tests at
the hands of a specialist. The American Meteorite Laboratory makes tests
free of charge, asking only that return postage be included if the sender
wishes a specimen returned even though it proves to be a non-meteoritic.
Small specimen should be sent intact. Larger specimens need to have a small
sample taken about the size of a walnut. The sample should be taken from an
area of the specimen where the least amount of damage will be done.
Specimens can be sent to the American Meteorite Laboratory P.O. Box ----,
Denver, Colorado 80201. If the sample is a meteorite an offer will be made.
Glenn Huss is the director of the American Meteorite Laboratory in Denver,
Dated October in the early 1970's
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Received on Sun 12 Jan 2020 08:40:35 AM PST