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Meteorite heading for Rifle

Carrie ClickPost Independent Staff

RIFLE – A meteorite is coming home. Well, at least a replica of a meteorite is. The original iron meteorite discovered years ago near Rifle is now part of the permanent collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is the largest iron meteorite in the Denver museum’s collection. The original, full-sized meteorite weighed 226 pounds, and is the third-largest iron meteorite of the 75 recorded meteorites found in Colorado. Volunteers from the Denver museum recently made a plaster of paris replica that will be presented to the Rifle Creek Museum, 337 East Ave., at a special ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28.Jack Murphy, curator of geology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and head of the museum’s meteorite research team, will attend the event, and will discuss the history of the Rifle meteorite and the significance of the replica being donated to the Rifle Creek Museum.In addition, space science representatives from the Denver museum will be on hand to talk with educators. “It is one of Colorado’s more interesting meteorites,” said Murphy. “The scientific community discredited it for a number of years because it was thought to be a piece of the iron meteorite found at Meteor Crater, Ariz., that was somehow transported to Rifle.”Scientists have discovered that’s not the case. After detailed chemical analysis, the Rifle meteorite has been reinstated with full status as a genuine meteorite and is listed in the “World Catalog of Meteorites.” One of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s goals in researching the Rifle meteorite is to contact science teachers about teaching the relevance of meteorites to Colorado school students. The museum’s All Sky camera network now operates at about a dozen Colorado schools, and records the paths and intensity of fireballs that may deposit meteorites on the Earth’s surface. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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