Meteor Find Could Make for Big Payoff

Dennis Faas's picture

Need $10,000? Who doesn't? A University of Calgary student might be in luck after making a once-in-a-lifetime find on the Canadian prairies.

On November 20th, a meteor careened through the sky and crashed into a frozen pond not far from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. At the time, property owner Ian Mitchell was helping his son get ready for a hockey game, and didn't hear about the event until other players began to show up, excitedly discussing the otherworldly event. Neither they nor Mitchell knew the rare lightshow had come to and end on the hockey Dad's ranch. (Source:

University of Calgary student Ellen Milley first noticed the chunks of black rock on a small frozen pond on Mitchell's property when investigating the meteor sighting last week. Milley, a Master's student, pointed out what looked like little black bits of debris to her companion, U of Calgary meteorite expert Alan Hildebrand.

Although the pair were disappointed the first piece turned out to be nothing more than a leaf, the second was nothing short of a once in a lifetime find -- a 250 gram chunk of black space rock. Experts estimate that the total meteorite must have weighed approximately ten tonnes.

"It's incredibly exciting," Milley gushed. "It's a very unique opportunity, because not many meteorites are found in Canada." (Source:

Milley may have found more than just a great essay topic or dorm room party favor, however. Arizona meteor businessman Robert Haag, who runs web sites and, has offered Milley $10,000 if she or Hildebrand can find a one-kilogram slab of the meteor.

Although it could certainly help Milley pay off some student loans (or help Santa with his holiday shopping), the noble young scholar has dismissed the offer. "We're in it for the science," she remarked.

Of course, even if Milley did want to sell her rock, she could face a serious legal battle with Mitchell. The rancher has announced that he's willing to sell larger pieces to anyone interested in buying, but it's unclear at this time how much he'll charge for the space rocks.  Legally, he owns anything found on his property.

So, even though it seems unlikely Milley will cash in on her find, the discovery should net her a pretty good mark as the university semester nears an end.

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