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METEORITE

Belgian couple discover 3kg meteorite in garden in southwest France

A Belgian couple living in southwest France had quite a surprise after stumbling across a meteorite weighing 3kg in their very own garden.

Claudine and Claude Guermant who live in the town of Beaugas in the Lot-et-Garonne department of southwestern France came across the 3kg meteorite nestled in between two trees on their garden lawn. 
 
It was Claudine, 76, who made the initial discovery when she was checking to make sure that the weed killer they had used on their lawn had been effective. 
 
“I saw a rock in the middle of the lawn and under it there was just a shallow mark,” Claudine told local French newspaper La Depeche. “I said to myself, this is not normal, why is there a rock in the middle of the lawn? So I took it inside the house to show my husband.”
 
 
Describing the meteorite in an interview with Europe 1, Claudine said: “It was about the size of a coconut, weighing 3kg it was grey and dark green in colour. It was mostly smooth with some rough patches.”
 
Claude, 80, a retired professor with a phD in biochemistry inspected the stone. 
 
“When I lifted it up, the weight was abnormally high. I weighed it using pharmacy scales,” he told the French press. “In addition, the meteorite, which contains iron and nickel, was strongly magnetized.”
 
“When I put a compass near the stone it went crazy and it hasn't worked since,” he said. 
 
And their discovery could be worth a lot of money. 
 
“The most mundane meteorites, originating from the asteroid belt, are not very expensive: a few euros a gram,” Pierre Gacomeni, president of an astronomy club told La Depeche. “Then there are the meteorites that are worth the money, those originating from Mars or the moon.”
 
According to Gacomeni, these meteorites can fetch up to €1,000.
 
And while thousands of tonnes of meteorite residue passes through the Earth's atmosphere every year, most of it is dust.
 
In fact, there is only one chance in 180 million of discovering a whole, intact meteorite. 

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NAMIBIA

Meteorite lands on home of Mrs Comette

A meteorite chose the roof of a house belonging to a Mrs Comette in the southern suburbs of Paris to make its acquaintance with the planet Earth.

Meteorite lands on home of Mrs Comette
NASA artist's animation (File)

The astral surprise hit the roof of the home in Draveil while the Comettes themselves were on holiday. On returning they discovered the encounter after a water leak led them to the roof, reported newspaper France Soir.

“We got the roofer out and he was amazed” said Martine Comette. “He said you’d have to be superman to break a roof tile like that. It must be a meteorite.”

The roofer was proved right when Alain Carion, a mineral scientist, authenticated the 88 gram meteorite. He described is as a “stone of black crusted rock which characterizes its passage through the atmosphere.”

“This is super rare,” he said. “There have been only 50 meteorite falls in France over the last four centuries.”

The scientist believes the egg-shaped meteorite came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The meteorite that hit the Comettes was small-fry compared to some of the largest ever discovered. The biggest meteorite is believed to be the Hoba, a 60-tonne boulder which fell in Namibia around 80,000 years ago.

Meteorites can sell for up to €1,000 per gramme ($1,357), but the Comettes plan to keep hold of theirs.

“It’s the history of life on Earth that fell in my garden,” said Mrs Comette, “a bit of fascinating space history that we know nothing about.”

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