Spanish man Faustino Asensio Lopez discovers 100kg rock used as ham press is meteorite
A meteorite is a solid piece of space debris from that survives impact with the Earth's surface. (File picture) Source: AFP
FOR over 30 years, the 100-kilogram rock on farmer Faustino Asensio Lopez's patio served its purpose as a ham press.
Due to its almighty weight, the Spanish farmer and his family used the rock as a weight in the ham-curing process, Spanish news agency EFE reports.
But it turns out the family have been sitting on a gold mine - their trusty rock has been identified as an iron meteorite with an estimated value of $5.3 million.
For years, Mr Lopez thought the rock was a merely a piece of military scrap. He found the rock in a field near Retuerta del Bullaque, south of Madrid, in 1980 while tending to livestock with his father.
But a 2011 TV report on the sighting of meteorites over Spain piqued his interest and he contacted geologist Juan Carlos Gutierrez.
His rock was confirmed to be a metallic meteorite, the fourth of its kind discovered in Spain after Quesa (Valencia, 1898), Colomera (Granada, 1912) and La Almunia (Zaragoza, 1950).
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an asteroid or a comet that survives impact with the Earth's surface.
According to the experts, Mr Lopez's meteorite dates back to prehistoric times.
The fragment broken off for the scientific study of the main mass is on display at the Mining Museum in Madrid, along with a replica of the original.