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1879: Hoosiers and Humility, Death and Deception — 1 Comment

  1. Reading your post reminds me of a fun part of our family history. In my mother’s flower bed rests one of the most bizarre rocks you will ever find. It looks like something from outer space, having strange cuts, groves and holes all over its surface. For its size (about a two to three feet in diameter), it is extremely heavy, completely disproportionate in weight to the rocks of similar size on our farm. The story was that my Great Grandfather saw a meteorite fall from the sky, land in his field, and then he went out and brought this rock back to the house. There it has sat for close to 200 years, adorning the flower beds of my Great Grandmother, Grandmother, and now my mother.

    When I was in college, we discussed meteorites in one of my astronomy classes. I was so excited to share with Dr. Olsen the story about our family meteorite that, after class was done, I sprung out of my chair and told him the whole story. I began to see a rather puzzled look on Dr. Olsen’s face, accompanied with a rather abrupt, “That’s virtually impossible.” After a moment of emotional deflation, we decided that I would bring the “meteorite” in and have one of the geologists look at it to determine what it was. Long story short, our family farm is in a drumlin region of Wisconsin, near where the glaciers stopped and dumped all their rocks they were carrying with them. The family meteorite was actually a large chunk of highly compressed sandstone that was scarred and carved by the glacier. The sandstone is so compressed that it doesn’t crumble apart like typical stand stone, but is incredibly hard. Yes, our family history did take a hit in the process, but it taught me that sometimes dispelling the myth can actually present us with new and exciting discoveries that teach us about the world we live in.

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