When a meteor passes overhead, two exciting things happen. The first is the fireball that streaks across the sky, seemingly out of nowhere. The second, provided there’s no damage, is the aftermath: when enthusiasts roam around, seeking treasure in the form of tiny space rocks.
As the CBC reports, that’s what is happening right now in and around Meadow Creek, British Columbia, where a bollide terminated after rocketing over the province on the night of September 4th. Although most of the space rock burned up in the atmosphere—thus the fiery display—it may well have left small pieces of debris, called meteorites, scattered over the land after its disintegration.
In Canada, property-holders can claim ownership of any meteorite found on their land. After getting it officially certified by a meteorite-testing facility, they can sell them to collectors, auction them on eBay, or keep them forever as fairly dull-looking but secretly cool keepsakes.
For some of the searchers, the stakes are fairly high. “Employment is bad in the [area],” the local general store owner, Mark Healy, told the CBC. Depending on their quality and size, certain meteorites can fetch a fair bit of money. “So they’re out looking.”
Meteorites can be tough to find, given that most of them somewhat resemble Earthly rocks. If you’re seeking them, physicists and astronomers recommend looking out for small objects with black, dull crusts. Some are also magnetic.
Unfortunately for Meadow Creek’s searchers, the terrain there is good camouflage for meteorites. It’s rugged, uneven, and full of, well, normal rocks. But when that big of a wishing star shows up in your neighborhood, you never know what might happen afterward. Best of luck, everyone.
Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to firstname.lastname@example.org.