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OT - Metal? Mysterium? Cannonball?

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  • OT - Metal? Mysterium? Cannonball?

    I need to tap the brain-trust here.
    My daughter found this 'Mystery Object' lying in a field.
    Since San Antonio has a history of battles in and around the city, my first thought was that it was a shattered Cannonball or Grapeshot.
    Or a Meteorite.
    That being said, Here it is:

    Here's the interesting things about it:
    1. NON-Magnetic (Not a Meteorite)
    2. Heavy, like Lead or dense Cast Iron.
    3. VERY hard .. I could barely scratch it with a file.
    4. The scratch-mark from the file appeared shiny, like Steel.
    5. It's brownish patina looks like old Cast Iron.
    6. The interior has 'rays' radiating outward from center.
    I took it to both a college and a museum, and both "Experts" were stumped.
    I know you fellas are alot smarter than College Professors, so what could it be??

  • #2
    It's a Higgs boson. They're popping up everywhere.

    Actually it could be part of the space shuttle or a meteorite. It looks too irregular for a cannonball.

    Edit: I take back the meteorite. Finding a metalic and non-magnetic meteorite is nigh impossible.
    Last edited by dp; 07-10-2012, 11:56 PM.

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    • #3
      I'd guess meterorite also. Why do you think it can't be if it's not magnetic?

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      • #4
        A friend of mine found something very similar in Puerto Rico. Much the same characteristics and much larger close to 150 pounds. The scratched off dust is red agents a piece of white paper. While the scratch is shiny metallic. Still don’t know what it is so let me know if you find out. Some very rare meteorites are nonmagnetic.

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        • #5
          Here's why it's probably not a meteorite...

          http://www.aerolite.org/found-a-meteorite.htm

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lakeside53
            I'd guess meterorite also. Why do you think it can't be if it's not magnetic?
            Metalic meteors contain iron and nickle and so are attracted to magnets. Stoney meteors are non-magnetic but have no metal. If it proves to be a metalic meteorite and non-ferrous it would be a very rare item. Same if it is a piece of the Columbia. Might be worth a look on the internet to see of there is still a debris recovery site people can contact.

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            • #7
              The radiating structure looks almost crystalline, but I can't see any actual crystal structure to determine what mineral it might be.

              There are a handful of metallic looking non-metal minerals. It could be one of those... but the "rust" on the surface makes me think metal. It could be very weakly magnetic... Did you use a neodymium magnet or just something off the fridge? Nd magnet would be the best choice to test with.

              You might also find a piece of white unglazed porcelain (IE the underside of a toilet tank lid or similar) and try a scratch test. The color of the scratch test can be a good indicator of what it is. If you want to collect as much data as possible, you should also see about doing an acid reactivity test with weak HCL, a mineral hardness test (there are a series of items like pencil lead, copper, steel etc to try to scratch the surface), and determining the specific gravity of the material... No guarantee, but with all of those things you might be able to narrow it down using a standard mineralogy textbook.

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              • #8
                How much do you want for it?

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                • #9
                  That looks a lot like a chunk of river tumbled low grade iron ore. We had a lot at the farm when I was growing up and smaller chunks were great in slingshots.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mike Burdick
                    Here's why it's probably not a meteorite...

                    http://www.aerolite.org/found-a-meteorite.htm
                    That site is not that cluey about meteorites.
                    This is a quote from their site.
                    "Please remember, a meteorite will stick easily to a good magnet. If your rock does not adhere to a powerful magnet you almost certainly do not have a meteorite. There are many Earth rocks that also stick to magnets, so if your specimen adheres to a magnet it is not automatically a meteorite, but it's a step in the right direction"

                    This is incorrect. Stony (non-magnetic) meteorite finds outnumber iron meteorites finds by a looooong way. A representative ratio of irons to non irons can be found by looking at the NAS antarctic meteorite collection . As of a couple of years ago they had ~16,000 meteorites of which only 107 were irons.

                    BTW I have forwarded the pictures for comment to a friend of mine who is the Curator of Meteorites at the Perth Museum.

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                    • #11
                      I think MickeyD is right.
                      I did a little research, and tried the ceramic streak test.
                      I think my daughter has discovered HEMATITE.

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                      • #12
                        And the verdict is . . . . .

                        According to the Curator of Minerals and Meteoritics (Dr Alex Bevan) at the Perth Museum it's;

                        " . . a weathered pyrite (or marcasite) nodule. The mineral was originally iron disulphide.
                        I can tell from the way the original crystals radiate out from the centre of the nodule (right hand image).

                        Can't really tell if the original pyrite has been completely altered to iron oxides or oxyhydroxides of iron.

                        Such nodules often form in a variety of sedimentary rocks by the percolation of iron and sulphur rich fluids. The origin of the sulphur is from decaying organic matter and the crystals grow outwards from a nucleus.

                        Because they are harder than the host rock, they often survive after it has completely erode away. So the nodules come to lie on apparently unrelated surfaces and appear exotic."

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                        • #13
                          If it's terrestrial in origin it seems reasonable to think that field will have a lot more. An hour with a metal locator would reveal that.

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                          • #14
                            It might be a silicon carbide meteorite. If so, it could be very rare. It may be what is left of a star that went super-nova. These typically have other rare metals in granular state too. Don't let it out of your sight.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CCWKen
                              It might be a silicon carbide meteorite. If so, it could be very rare. It may be what is left of a star that went super-nova. These typically have other rare metals in granular state too. Don't let it out of your sight.
                              Many meteorites contain micron size silicon carbide grains and nanometre size diamond grains (I have studied these so I know a bit about them) but a solid SiC meteorite would indeed be unusual beast as none have been found yet.
                              Last edited by BobL; 07-11-2012, 02:43 AM.

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