Man’s jaw drops after learning rock he stored on shelf for years is priceless

David Hole didn’t know what the rock was but thought it was strange so he brought it home and tried to crack it open, but he failed and left it on the shelf – then years later discovered what it was

A man found a strange rock while he was out looking for gold so took it home and kept it for years – then later discovered it was an incredibly rare 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite.

David Hole found the space rock in 2015, when he scoured for gold in yellow clay at Maryborough Regional Park close to Melbourne, the site of the famous Australian gold rush in the nineteenth century.

As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, he thought it contained a gold nugget so he tried to crack it open but was unable to do so – and it sat there collecting dust for the next six years.

But now David’s taken it to the Melbourne Museum, where he learned his strange rock is actually a meteorite that landed in Australia after travelling across space.

Dermot Henry, a geologist for the museum, described how in his 37 years of working in the area he had only come across two genuine meteorites.

Mr Henry told The Sydney Morning Herald : “This is only the 17th meteorite found in Victoria, whereas there have been thousands of gold nuggets found. Looking at the chain of events, it’s quite, you might say, astronomical it being discovered at all.

“It had this sculpted, dimpled look to it. That’s formed when they come through the atmosphere. They are melting on the outside, and the atmosphere sculpts them.

“Meteorites provide the cheapest form of space exploration. They transport us back in time, providing clues to the age, formation and chemistry of our Solar System.”

Researchers estimate the meteorite to be around 4.6 billion years old.

Carbon dating analysis puts its time on Earth somewhere between 100 and 1,000 years ago, with various meteor sightings in the past 150 years potentially offering an explanation for when it crashed here.

They named it after the place where Mr Hole unwittingly discovered it – Maryborough.

It weighs a hefty 17 kilograms, or just shy of 40lbs.