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08th Feb 2024

Man keeps rock for years hoping it’s gold but it turns out to be even more valuable


Despite being just 39cm long, the rock weighed 17kgs

A man who kept a rock for years in the hope that it was gold got a very pleasant surprise.

The rock was actually much more valuable – because it was a rare meteorite.

David Hole found the meteor whilst prospecting in Maryborough Regional Park near Melbourne, Australia in 2015, and later tried to pry it open to see if there was gold inside. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t open it.

Three years later he took the rock, which weighed 17kg despite being just 39cm long, to the Melbourne Museum to get it identified. It was here that geologists identified it as a 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite.

Melbourne museum geologist Dermot Henry told The Sydney Morning Herald: “It had this sculpted, dimpled look to it.

“That’s formed when they come through the atmosphere, they are melting on the outside, and the atmosphere sculpts them.”

In Henry’s 37 years at the museum, this was only the second time a rock brought to him had turned out to be a meteorite.

Bill Birch, a fellow geologist at the museum, said: “If you saw a rock on Earth like this, and you picked it up, it shouldn’t be that heavy.”

Researchers later published a paper detailing the find, and have named the rock Maryborough after the town near where it was found.

In a media release from the museum, Birch said: “When you consider all the events this chunk of rock has experienced since its formation 4.6 billion years ago, it’s really mind-boggling that we get the opportunity to hold it and study it today. How good is that?”

The meteorite is one of only 17 ever recorded in the Australian state of Victoria, making it extremely valuable to science.

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