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Continued: Farmer finds rare meteorite on field near Arlington

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 20, 2013 - 12:55 AM

He has confirmed two meteorites from other states, Alexander said, but this was the first new meteorite he’s ever seen from Minnesota. It contains more than 90 percent iron and about 8 percent nickel, with a unique crystalline pattern found only in meteorites.

Clues from space

Alexander said small meteorites fall to Earth with some frequency, but usually are too small to find. The rocks are of great interest to collectors and scientists, he said. “Meteorites are our major clues to how the solar system formed,” Alexander said. “A huge amount of what we know about the basic geochemistry of the Earth comes from the analysis of meteorites.”

The Lilienthals said they will bring the rock to the university again for more research, including a series of photos that may help Alexander and others determine whether it’s related to the 19-pound meteorite discovered in the Arlington area 120 years ago.

Beyond that, the couple said they haven’t decided what to do with their discovery.

“Right now, it’s just the center of conversation,” said Bruce Lilienthal. “Maybe we’ll sell it or keep it as a family heirloom — unless we find a bigger one.”

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

  • related content

  • Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal admired the 33-pound meteorite that Bruce found about two years ago while plowing a field.

  • Bruce Lilienthal held his meteorite Wednesday at his farm. A professor has confirmed that the rock is likely 4.6 billion years old.

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