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Sisters find suspected meteorite on New Jersey beach

By
Ben Hooper

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A pair of New Jersey sisters are trying to verify whether the object they found in a large crater on a beach was a meteorite.

Nora and Jean Muchanic said they were walking on Silver Beach in Toms River when they found the dark, black object inside a 5-foot wide crater.

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The sisters said they did some research and discovered the object has some characteristics in common with a meteorite.

"One side of the rock is dull and smooth, that might be the side that entered the atmosphere," Jean Muchanic told NJ.com. "I mean, there are rocks in the ocean, but this is really dark black and it's not common to find a rock like that."

Some have speculated the rock could be a meteorite from the fireball spotted over the eastern United States Jan. 9.

Joseph Trout, a physics professor at Stockton University, said he has not inspected the object in person, but he believes it is unlikely that it fell from space.

"Meteorites are very rare," he said. "When one is found it is usually a handful of pebble to fist size pieces. They consist of iron, stone, or iron and stone."

The Muchanic sisters said they are planning to take the object to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to have it identified by experts.

"Our first step is to authenticate it," Jean Muchanic said. "If it's not authenticated, we'll have a really fantastic, unique paperweight."

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