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A rock that’s worth its weight in gold

Geological Museum — Meteorite fragments worth two million kroner will be on display during the winter break

Some of you may recall that on 6 February 2016, a meteorite impacted near Ejby, near Copenhagen. The impact was the largest ever recorded in Denmark, and, in the weeks that followed, geology buffs could be seen scouring the area for any pieces they could get their hands on.


Danekræ are exceptionally well-preserved or rare fossils, rare mineral specimens and all meteorites found in Denmark. Anyone who finds something meeting the definition of Danekræ must hand the item over to the Natural History Museum. If the item is deemed Danekræ, the finder receives a reward. If not, the item will be returned to the finder. The Danekræ scheme also applies to fossils and crystals found in Denmark after 1989.

Fifteen people turned in a total of 8,937.78 grams of meteorite fragments to the Natural History Museum, a part of the University of Copenhagen. The reward for their effort, it turns out, will be worth its weight in gold – literally.

The finders will receive a total DKK 2 million from the national Danekræ finders’ scheme. That works out to DKK 224  per gram. In comparison, on 10 February, a gram of 24 carat gold was going for DKK 247.11.

Most other places, the Ejby meteorite would have found its way to the commercial market and been sold to a private collector
Bent Lindow, employee at the Natural History Museum and member of the Danekræ Committee.

For those not fortunate enough to have been in Ejby and see the meteorite impact, the fragments will be on display at the Geological Museum from February 13-26 in connection with the presentation of the reward.

After studying the fragments, scientists have determined that the meteorite was composed of common chondrite.

“The Danekræ scheme ensures that meteorites like the one from Ejby or Maribo [in 2009] are preserved as part of our history for future generations to see. The scheme is unique. There are no other countries that do something similar, but there has been a lot of interest in the scheme and its ‘semi-voluntary’ nature,” says Bent Lindow, of the Natural History Museum and a member of the Danekræ Committee.

In addition to being uniquely Danish, the Danekræ scheme, according to Lindow, is a good way to ensure that the public gets to enjoy asteroid rubble. In other countries, the fragments would have wound up out of the public’s view.

“Most other places, the Ejby meteorite would have found its way to the commercial market and been sold to a private collector,” he says. “In addition to preventing the public from seeing them, that also means scientists can’t study them to learn more about the universe.”