I found these two objects on a beach near Hastings. They appear to be solid metal, appearance of shiny iron (and they smell ferric), they conduct electricity but are non magnetic and do not respond to a metal detector. Specific gravity is 3.3.. On attached image, object 1 is 360 gms and object 2 is 400gms.
Although they were found within 50 yds of each other, object 1 is distinctly bronzy/brassy and object 2 rust coloured
I would love to know what they are and how they ended up on a beach.
I suspect they are eroded industrial waste, but let's not get ahead of the evidence...
I wonder if the smell is actually sulphurous, suggesting a sulphide mineral.
But the density is too low for pyrite/ iron/ many other metals or metallic minerals.
I'm no expert on metal detecting equipment. What does the lack of effect imply?
(I presume detectors are primarily electromagnetic decvices.)
That will enable me to shorten by shortlist of metals/minerals to suggest.
Thanks Mike.. That would be disappointing! However object 1 could be suphurous, object 2 is definately ferric and there appears to be some surface rust. The two objects look quite dissimilar in colour. The metal detector was purchased to find more of these, and they are supposed to detect all metals, including non-electromagnetic. Indeed it detects, gold, zinc, aliuminium, tin etc etc. But these objects cause no reaction at all. The metal appears quite soft and leaves a black streak. These objects were found well below normal beach height, alongside an ancient forest ( which I have never seen before in over 60 years). Paul
Curiouser and curioser...
The association with the submerged forest may or may not be significant, but it certainly adds interest.
The last photo seems to show surface detail that looks rather sedimentary.
But I cannot fathom the fact that they conduct electricity yet don't register on your detector.
Here's a list of metallic minerals in your density range (3.3+/-), with black(+/-) streak and being softish.
Density (g/ml) Mineral Color Hardness Luster Streak
3.10 Rasvumite black/brownish 4-5 Metallic black/brownish
3.18 Fluorannite black/iron 3 SubMetallic gray black/iron
3.31 Bartonite brown/black 3.5 Metallic black brown/black
3.38 Chaoite gray/dark 1-2 SubMetallic gray/dark
3.42 Takanelite gray/brownish 2.5-3 SubMetallic black/brown-gray/brownish
3.46 Hauerite gray/blackish 4 Metallic brown, reddish gray/blackish
3.50 Bannermanite black SubMetallic black, brownish-black
3.54 Wicksite black/bluish 4.5-5 SubMetallic greenish- black/bluish
3.60 Julgoldite-(Fe+++) black, deep lustrous 4.5 SubMetallic black
3.60 Julgoldite-(Fe++) black 4.5 SubMetallic black
I would ignore 'lustre' since your specimens appear to have some oxidation.
I have not investigated those, but as keywords in a Google search, they should work well.
However, even if you find one or more that seem good fits, proving the ID will be tricky.
I think you'll need to present the specimens for examination at a lab of some sort.
If they came to me for ID, I'd have to:
- thin section and study under a microscope (quite probably an ore microscope)
- run a sample through a mass spectrometer
- do chemical tests (eg. acid)
- look into the electrical conductivity
But don't actually send one to me (I live in Cyprus).
In the first intance, contact the NHM directly, with a view to sending/taking it to them;
But you can leave it a few days to see if somebody on NaturePlus sheds some light on the conundrum.
Thank you so much Mike. Lots to think about. I am not a scientist, but I too find the fact that they both conduct electricity well and yet don't make the detector flinch very intriguing. Up close they clearly look like molten metal that has been instantly frozen (by water?). Anyway thanks, Paul