By the end of the year, Chicagoans could get the chance to see pieces of history from millions years ago.
The Field Museum recently obtained four meteorites that descended to the bottom of the ocean and fossilized approximately 500 million years ago.
Only 100 fossil meteorites exist in the world. They are typically found in a limestone quarry in Sweden.
“It gives us a hint of how much we don't know of what may hide in marine sediments, our archives of deep time,” Philipp Heck, associate curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies, said.
The meteorites were created when a large object collided with an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Heck said. The collision caused more meteorites to rain down on Earth than at any other time in its history. Some rocks were preserved in the ocean floor.
One of the meteorites was preserved next to a cephalopod, or an aquatic, squid-like creature, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The four meteorites are called “L chondrites,” a low-iron chondrite meteorite from a larger asteroid that fell to Earth about 470 million years ago.
The meteorites were mined from a limestone quarry in Sweden. The Field Museum is one of few institutions to receive the rare rocks. One of the rocks is believed to have fallen from the projectile that hit the asteroid.
The four fossil meteorites will be displayed for museum visitors later this year. Before the end of the year, the meteorites will be on the second floor above the Soldier Field entrance, according to the Tribune.