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Central Michigan University geology professor Mona Sirbescu said that she knew the rock was "something special" as soon as she saw it.

"For 18 years, the answer has been categorically "no" - meteor wrongs, not meteorites", she said in a statement.

A rock (pictured) that was used as a door stop for three decades has turned out to be a meteorite worth $100,000 (£76,000).

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, obtained the meteorite when he bought his farm in Edmore, Michigan, about 30 miles (48km) southwest of Mount Pleasant. She examined it and determined the meteorite was 88 percent iron and 12 percent nickel. The space rock continued to perform that job for decades, only recently being identified as something very unique and valuable.

He asked the then homeowner about it and was told it was a meteorite found on the property in the 1930s. The farmer told Mazurek that he and his father watched the chunk of rock slam into their property one night and picked it up the next day, when it was still warm to the touch.

David says his kids took the space rock to "show and tell" at school.

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"When I showed her, she grabbed the bag, said it was heavy and took it out and said, 'It's a meteorite, '" Mazurek said.

"A piece of the early solar system literally fell into our hands", Dr Sirbescu said in a video made by the university to promote its discovery. Millions of meteorites enter the Earth's atmosphere every year but the vast majority vaporise before they can make it to the ground, making intact specimens highly valuable.

Now the Smithsonian museum is considering buying the space rock, and it could fetch as much as $100,000, the release says.

Mazurek said that when he sells the meteorite, he'll donate some of the money to the university.

But he's not hoarding the payday, because 10% of the rock's value is already pledged to CMU's earth and atmospheric science students. A colleague there further analyzed the sample, including with an acid test to reveal the Widmanstätten pattern, a property of most iron-nickel meteorites that can not be faked.


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