When most people think of metal detecting, their minds automatically conjure up an image of Spanish gold bars and stolen pirate treasure. Some metal detecting enthusiasts will even think about digging up natural minerals such as diamonds or gold nuggets. But what else can be dug up from the ground that is naturally occurring and is much more valuable? If you thought meteorites than you are absolutely correct!
Meteorites are pieces of mineral debris from space that have landed on the earth’s surface. They often survive a fiery journey through the layers of our atmosphere before landing on earth. Each one is unique in shape and size because they often bump into other objects in space or they partially disintegrate as they enter the atmosphere. Your typical meteorites are primarily made of iron and nickel, referred to as “Iron,” “Stony Iron,” or “Chondrite” meteors. The iron meteorites that lay beneath the surface are heavy and instantly stand out as unusual. They are also way simpler to find with a metal detector!
Coming from outer space, meteorites are much more rarer than gold, platinum, diamonds or emeralds. Owning one is the only way to touch the cosmos, and the demand for such an experience is out of this world! They are often called black gold because of their charred appearance and will often sell for $300.00 per gram or more. This means that your typical 1 pound meteorite can be worth upwards of around $1,000,000.00!
You may be asking yourself, “How many are out there waiting to be found?” Well, more than a hundred tons of meteorites are entering the Earth’s atmosphere each day. Humans witness around 33% of all fallen meteorites. According to the database of the Meteoritical Society, about 1,500 verified meteorites have been found in the U.S. in the past 200 years. With today’s advances in metal detectors, that number continues to go up every day!
You also maybe asking yourself, “Where can I find these meteorites?” The best place to start looking for these valuable minerals are in deserts since they are devoid of plant life and rarely have any rain. In his dry and dusty climate, meteorites will not weather or erode quickly and can be found just below surface of the earth.
They can also be found in previously discovered areas such as strewn fields. These are fields that have clearly been the landing place of meteorites in the past and have often been searched by others. This can play in your favor because of advances in metal detecting technology. Many of the meteorites found today are simply pieces of ones found years ago.
Once you have found a place to hunt for meteorites, you will need a metal detector to actually go get them! Most metal detectors will locate iron, but you’ll want one that covers a large area and penetrates much deeper into the earth. The White’s Spectra V3i is the perfect metal detector to fit this bill with its meteorite mode built right into the device. You can also use the Minelab E-Trac, Fisher F75 or Garrett GTI 2500 to strike your fortune in the meteorite game.
After you found the right metal detector and what looks to be meteorite, you probably want to know if its the real deal. To begin with, most metals found on Earth are either man-made or come from a meteorite. A piece of metal without holes or bubbles in it may be a meteorite. If you think you’ve found one, but aren’t sure, rub your find on a piece of unfinished ceramic tile. If the streak is red, the mineral is hematite and not a meteorite. If you don’t have any ceramic tile lying around, try to break a piece of your find off. If it is a meteorite, it will be similar to naturally-occurring steel and you probably won’t be able to break it no matter how hard you try.
The great thing about metal detecting meteorites is that they can be found all over the place and its getting even easier to find with better technology in metal detecting devices. It has been reported that scientists have successfully found meteorites in the cold depths of Antarctica thanks to the help of metal detectors. Some have felt that the ability to ground balance or cancel out the dominate background rock has been the most important improvement to metal detecting technology over the years.
Many meteorite hunters have also found metal detecting for meteorites to be much more than just a hobby, and have become “a professional meteorite hunter”. Among the legendary stories that many hobbyist share, there is one hunter who has grossed over a half million dollars in meteorites found all around the world. The trick to finding these precious minerals is to be patient, find the right place and get the right gear. So what are you waiting for? Your fortune awaits!