1990 - Volume #14, Issue #4, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Montana buyer pays $100/lb for meteorites
Marlin Cilz recently paid a South Dakota farmer $10,000 (that's the maximum total amount he'll pay) for a 12 by 12-in. meteorite he plowed up in a field several years ago. "He kept the rock around thinking there was something different about it because it weighed so much - 165 lbs. - for its size. After reading an article about me in a local paper, he got in touch," says Cilz who travels all over the country looking for meteorites. As a result of publicity he received in local papers, he recently located a 17 pounder in Williston, N. Dak., a 63-pounder from California and a 38 pounder from Roundup, Mont.
Cilz has collected meteorites for 16 years and has one of the 10 largest collections in the world, containing more than 150 specimens. He cuts his meteorites in half, donating one half to Arizona State University where research is conducted on them. Al-though not trained as a scientist, Cilz has taught himself just about everything there is to know about them.
When a farmer contacts Cilz about a possible meteorite, he asks the farmer to cut off a small piece of the specimen and send it to him for analysis. Since most meteorites are made of dense metal, they can be cut with a hacksaw. Cilz cautions that you should never hammer or use a torch on a meteorite since that can damage them, making them useless for research.
Here's how to recognize a meteorite:
Rusty-brown or black in color.
Often heavier than ordinary rocks. Some are 90 percent iron.
Sometimes distinguished by metallic specks on a broken surface.
Rather smooth on the outside and don't have cavities like a sponge.
Different from local rocks.
Cilz, who has never found a meteorite himself, pays cash for them. His top rate of $100 per pound is for metal meteorites. He pays less for stone meteorites, which are less common but not of as much interest to researchers.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marlin Cilz, Box 1063, Malta, Mont. 59538 (ph 406 654-2192).
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