Sacramento, CA -
A meteor the size of a mini-van that struck Northern California has caused a gold-rush like response from people seeking to find pieces of the meteor, everyone from scientist who say it holds significant scientific value to amateur meteor chasers who want to add to their personal collections and treasure hunters who could sell it for up to $1,000 per gram on the open market to private collectors.
The meteor fell around the Coloma-Lotus area and this is where, what was a remote area about 40 miles northeast of Sacramento has become crammed with, out of town people all searching for their "gold".
"We want to learn about this asteroid," Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer and senior research scientist at the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and the NASA Lunar Science Institute tells the Times. "This is scientific gold."
According to the LA Times, Brenda Salveson of Rescue, Calif., tells the newspaper that she found one stone while out walking her dog and showed it to a group of scientists nearby. She says they let out a "collective gasp" and carefully wrapped the 17-gram stone in foil, urging her to get it into a bank vault.
This area's last influx of people searching for minerals was in 1848 where James W. Marshall first discovered gold in California, at Sutter's Mill.