PHOENIX – A meteorite that crashed into Arizona 50,000 years ago but had been missing for 40 years is back home.
The “Basket” meteorite was stolen from Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff in August 1968.
Scientists said the Basket meteorite began as part of the Canyon Diablo Meteor, which flew roughly 40,000 miles-an-hour, or 11 miles per second, or 50 times the speed of sound.
Wisconsin resident Tom Lynch bought the meteorite, shaped like a basket, at a yard sale three years ago for $10.
“I figured, for $10, it was worth at least that in scrap,” Lynch said.
Lynch never scrapped the unique item and instead kept it and used it to weigh down a basketball hoop for his grandson.
“It worked just perfect,” weighing in at 49 pounds.
But one day Lynch was watching the Travel Channel and he began to learn about the mystery of meteorites.
Ultimately, Lynch learned through scientists at Chicago’s Field Museum that the odd hunk of metal wasn’t a piece of scrap.
Lynch said scientists there sawed off a piece, tested it and figured it was about 4.6 billion years old.
Eventually, it was determined it was, in fact, the Basket meteorite.
Instead of trying to sell it, Lynch said he decided it was best to return it to Arizona.
So 40 years after it was stolen, Lynch brought the Basket meteorite home to Meteor Crater on Monday, saying he was actually glad to part with it.
“I tell you, it got a little nerve-racking,” Lynch said. “I basically slept with it last night. But this has been wonderful.”