Treasure-hunters unearth meteorite

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

 Huss said the dimpled chunk of nickel, iron, olivine and other minerals is a rare find for Florida because it is so well preserved. Salt water tends to erode highly metallic meteorites, he said, often reducing them to splotches of discolored sand over the course of a few hundred years.

 The excellent condition of the Grayton Beach find has led experts to guess the meteorite crashed to Earth elsewhere, was recovered by Indians hundreds - or thousands - of years ago and left at the spot where Gibson and Green eventually found it.

 Povenmire agrees with Huss on that point. Since the meteorite was found in a midden site - an ancient Indian trash heap - Povenmire thinks local Indians may have grown weary the curio and discarded it.

 Although Gulf coast Indians often heated rocks and clay balls to cook with and warm their mud-and-reed huts in the winter, Povenmire said the Grayton Beach Meteorite shows no signs of heating other than by entry into Earth's atmosphere.

 He estimated that 20-30 percent of the meteorite' mass disintegrated during its fiery descent.

 Yulee Lazarus, curator of the Fort Walton Beach Indian Temple Mound Museum , said pottery shards and other Indian artifacts found in the Grayton Beach area are 400-4,000 years old.

 Lazarus said she would have to examine shards from the depth at which the meteorite was found to determine how long it had been there.

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