KIOWA COUNTY, KS (KSNW/NBC) - A search for meteorites buried in the Midwest could give researchers valuable information about what happened thousands of years ago.
"The idea is this all came in at one time, maybe 20,000 years ago, and it probably started glowing over Colorado, the western border of Colorado, and burned thru the atmosphere, broke up. It would've been a massive event," owner of the Kansas Meteorite Museum Don Stimpson explained.
Finding the meteorites, now buried several feet under, is still a slow process.
"The deeper objects give you a more characteristic signal, a kind of gradual rise and fall," Stimpson said.
When they get a signal, Stimpson and his volunteers go to work, first by verifying something is down there.
"When you hear that first scritch, when the shovel hits that metal, it gets your blooding pumping. It's like a present; you don't know what you're going to pull out. Really exciting," said volunteer hunter Brett Whitenack.
The newest find weighed in at just under 39 pounds, and while it may look like any other rock, once the meteorite's cleaned up it can be sliced to reveal the crystals inside.
After being broken up, the meteorite pieces can be sold for around $100 each but it's not the profit that has them hunting for more, it's a fascination with the unknown.
"They've been out there billions of years, and they've traveled millions of miles, and they happened to fall on our Earth, and we get to hold them," Whitenack said.
Stimpson has found 139 meteorites over the years.
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