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2nd Largest Meteorite Belongs To TCU

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FORT WORTH (CBS11) - The Monnig Meteorite Gallery at TCU has thousands of meteorites on display and in storage. But its latest acquisition dwarfs them all.

The new one is about three times this size of the meteorite on display at the gallery entrance which is proudly hailed as one of the biggest found in Texas.

The first thing a dude ranch owner north of Amarillo noticed when he saw the space rock was its unusual color. The second thing he noticed was the rock made his horse behave strangely.

"I mean I've seen a lot of rocks but nothing like that," Frank Hommel of Bar H Dude Ranch said. "So I try to get up to it closer with my horse. You know, I walk up there to it, and he gets about 10 feet from it and stops and snorts at it. He backs up. I try to get him back up there he just snorts."

Frank Hommel -- and his horse -- had discovered the second largest meteorite of its kind found in America. But why did his horse have such an adverse reaction to it?

"I don't know!" laughed Monnig Meteorite Gallery endowed professor Rhiannon Mayne. "Isn't that weird?"

What the gallery curators do know is the 760 pound massive meteorite is ending a journey that began before the earth formed.

"This is the building blocks," Mayne said. "This is before all that happened. This is what the earth would have looked like before it melted."

Its enormous size dwarfs other meteorites, which makes it very rare.

"I've been doing this over 18 years and I've never come across something like this," said veteran meteorite hunter and dealer Ruben Garcia. "So, in respect of size, it may not ever happen again for me. It might happen once in a lifetime for a dealer to come across a stone that impressive."

The Hommels had several other offers to buy the meteorite, but there was one big factor that finally landed it at TCU.

"We talked about it," Hommel said. "And we really thought we'd like it to stay in Texas. It was found in Texas."

In keeping with TCU's practices, the gallery did not disclose the price it paid for the meteorite.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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