Treasure-hunters unearth meteorite

Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 03:43 PM.

This story originally ran in the Northwest Florida Daily News three decades ago.

Experts have verified that a bowling ball-size hunk of metal unearthed near Grayton Beach is the third largest meteorite ever found in the southeastern United States .

 The 24-pound meteorite is thought to have crashed to Earth at least 400 years ago. Two amateur treasure-hunters found it amid a smattering of Indian artifacts, suggesting that Gulf Coast tribesmen may have kept as a curio.

 Harold Povenmire, a widely respected South Florida meteorite buff, and Dr. Glen Huss, director of the American Meteorite Lab in Denver , examined pieces of the object and concluded it is an "olivine hypersthene chondrite stony meteorite." Such meteorites are thought to be as old as the solar system, more than 4 billion years. The meteorite has been registered with the British Museum in London as the Grayton Beach Meteorite.

 Phil Gibson of Dune Allen and Dr. John Green of Destin made the discovery Oct. 30 while pursuing their hobby of treasure-seeking.

 Gibson said he and Green were using metal detectors to scan the undeveloped coastal area just west of Grayton Beach . They were in a depression between dunes, 575 feet from shore, when Gibson detected a large metal object 3 feet beneath the sand.

 The two dug through layers of Indian pottery shards before uncovering the rust-colored lump.

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