Thousands of people have flocked to a small town in Brazil after fragments of a 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite started falling like rain from the sky.
Chunks of the meteorite have been discovered in Santa Filomena, northeastern Brazil, with locals referring to the incident as the ‘day when money fell from the sky’ and a ‘miracle.’
The biggest chunk weighed 40 kilograms and is ten years’ worth of the average salary in the bean-planting region.
The 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite is believed to be a rare chondrite which dates back to the origins of the Solar System.
Specimens can sell for tens of thousands of dollars as only 1 percent of meteorites are of this type.
Residents who found some fragments have become instantly rich.
Edimar da Costa Rodrigues, a 20-year-old student, remembered how he saw the sky ‘fill up with smoke.’ He then received messages from others saying it was ‘raining rocks.’
Costa Rodrigues decided to go to the street and found a 7-cm wide meteorite, which weighed 164g. He then sold the fragment to an American meteorite hunter for $1,340.
One chunk weighing 2.8kg was being negotiated for around $20,100.
“The price is getting close to 40 reals (7.37) per gramme, and it’s getting higher. Only a few days ago it was half that,” Costa Rodrigues said. “Ninety per cent of the town’s population are farmers. There aren’t many shops, nothing that generates jobs. It’s a humble place, with people on a low wage.
“Most people think it’s a really good thing. Lots of people have found a rock, and it has come at a time when many really need some money to pay the bills.”
Meteorite hunters drove to the town, as well as professional collectors from Uruguay and the US.
Antonio Miranda of Pernambuco state’s federal university said: “Meteorites are rare things, a diamond of science, and they are worth a lot of money.
“But for me they should be treated the same as the discovery of a diamond or gold deposits, and belong to the person who own’s the land on which they are found.
“The most just thing would be for the authorities to say that any rock which will fell on the town belongs to Santa Filomena and cannot be sold or take away.”
Gabriel Silva of Sao Paulo University’s Chemistry Institute also said: “This meteorite is of the chondrite type. It is one of the first minerals that formed in the Solar System, before the Earth.
“The meteorite could tell us much about how the universe was formed.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!
Recommended Video For You!
“Ant Stealing A Diamond From A Jewelry Store In New York”