Mystery meteorite

Stony visitor from outer space may hold answers to puzzle

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Antique auto dealers across the U.S. know Charlie Glick. That’s his specialty – antique autos that date back to the 1920s and earlier.

He’s also a collector of World War I and World War II military weaponry and considered an expert in that field as well.

One thing he is not, he’ll admit, is an authority on meteorites. More accidental than by design, the man proudly possesses one. Several knowledgeable people have told him it could be unique and possibly valuable.

The meteorite is black as the ace of spades, slightly magnetic and dense. It’s roughly the size of a grapefruit and weighs 7.2 pounds, or if one asks, 3,256.l grams. For its volume, it’s heavy. The content is mostly nickel, some iron and a dab of rock.

Glick spent several years growing up in southeast Texas just a stone’s throw from the Rio Grande. He often returns to visit relatives and speaks fluent Spanish. It was there in approximately 1961 that his older brother David discovered the meteorite in a rock pile next to their driveway in Mission, Texas. The black rock stood out like a sore thumb in the pile of caliche, which is a cheap grade of white, sandy limestone found in dry climates.

The local school’s science teacher identified it as a meteorite. So, too, did the science department at Pan American University. It was dug in a caliche quarry, loaded into a dump truck and hauled, then dumped for driveway rock. The Rio Grande Valley is well known for caliche roads and driveways.

The Glick family later moved to Paris where Charlie graduated from high school. The meteorite traveled to Paris, also, and was eventually forgotten after David Glick died in 1991. Stored in a box for decades, it was uncovered when Charlie Glick opened the box in 2018 searching for something else.

Amazed and curious, he showed the meteorite to Tom Baker, his good friend, a retired career geologist from the Illinois State Highway Department. Baker was quite impressed, telling Glick it could be a rare specimen and advising him to seek authoritative sources.

Glick showed it to Kevin Orpurt, the popular TV weather forecaster from Terre Haute. Orpurt referred him to a geologist at Indiana University and specialists at the U. S. Geological Survey in Bloomington.

The assessment by the scientists at Bloomington is the meteorite is likely a fragment from a famous asteroid that flashed to Earth between 66 and 65 million years ago. It is believed to have struck where the Yucatan Peninsula is located now in Mexico, and many believe it helped create the Gulf of Mexico, wiped out the Earth’s dinosaur population and contributed to the breakup of North America, South America and Europe, which were then attached.

This giant meteorite is believed to be one of the most impactful meteorites in Earth history. Some geologists think 99 percent of the meteorite remains buried miles deep inside the Earth’s crust and far below the Gulf of Mexico. The remaining 1 percent splattered far and wide. Mission, Texas is 800 miles from the meteorite’s impact site.

Glick was told that quite a few pieces have been found. Most of the collectable pieces are about the size of a quarter. His, if properly authenticated, would be the largest ever discovered.

That’s in his plans. He intends to contact Washington University in St. Louis, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and the Rock and Mineral Show in Arizona, which has an annual meeting in rotating cities.

Glick pledges to challenge the experts soon to finally determine if his meteorite is a run of the mill space rock or if it is a rare and historically important item.