Grayton’s meteoric moment: 30 years later, resident recalls discovery

Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 03:12 PM.

Povenmire hypothesized the meteorite was 4.5 billion years old and had probably been buried for several hundred years on the beach. Only five recorded meteorites have been known to hit Florida . When it came time to name it, as Povenmire suggested, Gibson chose “Grayton Beach Meteorite” to commemorate where it was found.

Gibson said the Smithsonian had leaked the meteorite story to the Associated Press and United Press International, and the phone calls came pouring in to Gibson and Green. In an age before the Internet and social media, finding a meteor was a big deal, Gibson said.

Eventually, the two released a statement saying the meteor was in a bank vault to avoid any potential break-ins.

"The whole thing was bigger than what John and I ever expected," said Gibson, who is now the marina manager for East Pass Towers marina. "It was like going fishing in the harbor and catching a blue marlin."

Once the limelight started to wear off, Green and Gibson took turns possessing the meteor, calling each other for "visitation rights," Gibson said.

What's interesting about the timing of the treasure find is that the area Gibson and Green found the meteor became Grayton Beach State Park two weeks after they lugged the space rock home. If they had waited until then to go hunting, it would have been illegal to take home the goods. The fine line made Gibson nervous, and so he and Green decided to sell.

"Out of nowhere I got a phone call from John DuPont, of the DuPont company," Gibson said. "He was a very nice man, told me he collected those kind of things and made me an offer I couldn't refuse."

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