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Meteorites cause small-scale resurgence of Gold Rush

Georgetown resident heard flaming meteor explosion
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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When Brenda Salveson heard meteorites found just minutes from her home were drawing national acclaim ? and a high price tag ? she decided it might be worth taking a walk to find her own. Dozens of other people were out scouring the neighboring towns of Lotus and Coloma hoping to join in on the meteorite version of the start of the California Gold Rush, but Salveson was one of the lucky few who found what appears to be a meteorite in the place she normally walks her dog at Lotus Park on Thursday. ?It was in the grass,? Salveson said. ?I was looking in sort of the back part. We live seven minutes away.? Salveson said she had just been volunteering in a local fifth grade classroom and teaching about finding rocks, so the spotting was fortuitous. She said she might be willing to sell some of it. The meteorites were likely to be part of a flaming meteor, the size of a minivan, which exploded at about 8 a.m. Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The first two meteorites were found in separate locations in Coloma and Lotus. One near Sutter?s Mill, where gold was first discovered in California and one in Lotus Park. Since then, experts have flown in from all over the country to analyze them and search for their own fragments. Tim Berger, a geologist from Fair Oaks, had been out looking all morning for a meteorite of his own, but said he was happy he at least got to see Salveson?s. He said hers appeared to be what he would expect a meteorite in the area to look like. ?It?s got a fusion crust on it,? Salveson said. ?I?m happy that I got to see it.? Pat Murphy, a fireman and Folsom resident, found a much smaller meteorite. ?I watch the ?Meteor Man? and I learned a lot about getting out and looking for them,? Berger said. Tyrone Curry, of Roseville, and his son Isaak Curry, have been meteor hunting as a hobby for awhile. They carried special magnets taped to the end of sticks as they paced a field near Sutter?s Mill. ?It?s like getting a celestial body coming to Earth and coming and finding it,? Tyrone Curry said. ?Now that we don?t have a space program, this is the only way we can get space to come to us.? Tyrone Curry said he has been fascinated by space since he was a child and now enjoys sharing the hobby with his son. He said he has seen some meteorites sell for thousands of dollars and these ones will probably be no exception. A quick search online yields various prices on meteorites from $5 per gram to possibly $1,000 a gram for very rare minerals. Don Jones, 45, of Volcanoville, and his friend Chris Moon, 45, of Georgetown said they both heard the explosion of the flaming meteor on Sunday morning. ?The fireball woke us up,? Jones said. ?It?s 7:54 (a.m.) and all of a sudden I hear this fireball.? Moon said the explosion was very loud and shook the floor of his home. ?It sounded like a jet engine,? Moon said. Aside from having experienced hearing the explosion themselves, the friends said they were hoping a meteorite could yield a nice paycheck. However, their prices where their own speculation. ?$10,000, that is a lot of money,? Jones said. ?I thought, ?I?ll come down for that.?? Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.