Unraveling a Michigan meteorite mystery
7&4 News got a call this morning from a Grand Traverse man who reported that he and his friend found a possible meteorite behind Traverse City's State Hospital.
22-year-old Mark Hooper and 21-year-old Silas MacLeod were walking along a trail, when they stumbled upon something strange looking.
"Random chance we come across a meteorite trail with pieces scattered all over the place and fragments all over the place," said Hooper.
"Even the dust was catching my eye," said MacLeod. "I knew it was something a little bit more."
After collecting bags of these so-called moon rocks, Hooper decided to take his share home to do some investigating.
"I tested it after washing all of the fragment that I found to see if they were magnetic with the magnet that I had and low and behold, they stuck to the magnet."
Mark then decided to take his investigating a step further by crushing up one of the fragments, where he then found a tiny crystal inside. That's when he called us and we turned to Joe Brooks, a member of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society who has his own moon rock collection.
"What I believe that this is, is either some form of natural form of iron, or some left over slag iron that was from the smelting process in the past," said Brooks.
A finding that was disappointing for all of us, but probable after we learned that active train tracks once ran through the spot where the rocks were found.
"This was a purification process that with the iron that they used to mine in order to get rid of the extra minerals that were in it," said Brooks. "They would heat it up and of course the metals would sink to the bottom. The slag would float to the top and they would scrape it off and it would cool."
"I thought it was cool that we stumbled upon something that might be something cool," said MacLeod. "Might just be something random."
While the rocks didn't turn out to be from space, 7&4 enjoyed unraveling the mystery and helping out Mark and Silas get some answers.