Meteorite hunters descend on Lotus Coloma
There is a new rush hitting gold country this week, but these miners weren't looking for nuggets. Instead, the hills were filled with meteorite hunters searching high and low for rocks from space.
In the small town El Dorado County town of Lotus, meteorite hunters by the hundreds have converged to try to find fragments of a meteor that came crashing down Sunday.
If they find a piece of the meteor, it could be worth more than gold.
On the road into the town, there's a sign that reads "Lotus Rocks." But on Thursday, there were a lot fewer rocks in Lotus than there were earlier in the week.
William stokes is one of dozens of people in a zombie-like march across this park.
It was here someone from NASA found this tiny bit of meteorite, a fragment of mini-van sized space rock that exploded over gold country Sunday morning.
"The guy that found it found it here. So if there's one, there's got to be more!" said Stokes.
Most of the people were new to meteorite hunting.
"Its just kind of interesting to find something from outer space," said Rick Garza.
But Isaak Curry and his father Tyrone have searched for meteorite fragments before.
"Well, hopefully we have some meteorites," said Tyrone Curry. "It can go as high as $1,200 a gram."
One professional meteorite hunter paid $2,000 dollars for a four-gram meteorite found in the park Thursday.
A few miles away, Lotus resident Steve Defazio told KTVU he hopes to get lucky. He heard the meteor twice on Sunday.
"I was standing in the back yard and I heard something, a boom, go off," said Defazio. "Then I heard hail hitting my roof and it was bright and sunny."
He checked his roof and scoured his yard, but by late afternoon Defazio had only collected what he laughingly agreed was a "pocket full of rocks."
Experts told KTVU that when the meteor broke up, its pieces scattered across a field ten miles long.
Most people were coming up empty, but they seemed to be having fun with their search.