Saturday, August 01, 2015

Meteorites in your gutter

I had read how the Vatican Astronomer went with an expedition to Antarctica to find meterites, and  how folks in the New Mexican deserts find them.

But can you actually find them in your area?

David Reneke's space blog explains how to find them.

the clue: They are iron.

Rain allows them to be rinsed from the roof of a house and concentrated wherever the gutters empty.  No or little rain means less gutter deposits.   So, how do we begin collecting these cool nuggets of science fact?  Grab a Ziploc bag, a small magnet, a spoon or small spade, and a wide-eyed little boy or girl.  Prepare to discover something just as cool as a good sci-fi flick.
To begin, go outside and find the spillway of one of your house gutters.  There is normally a patch of dirt and somewhat rocky-looking debris.  Scoop a small sample of this into the Ziploc bag with the spoon.  Take the sample to the deck or inside the house; just be certain you have a good work area to begin your exploration of the sample.  Dump the sample onto a paper plate or paper towel.  If the sample is wet, allow it to dry for a few minutes.  Once dry, take the magnet and pass it over the sample.  Be careful to avoid touching the sample directly.
What you are looking for are small rock-like particles which will begin to “leap” onto the magnet.  These little rocks are made up of mostly iron, an element not normally found on top of the soil.  It is, however, a primary ingredient in most micrometeorites.  Congratulations!  You have now discovered your own little samples of out-of-this-world rocks. 

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