Meteorite hunter on the prowl
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On the hunt with California's 'meteor zombies'

4 May 2012 Last updated at 03:51 BST

One of the most important meteor strikes in a generation has brought treasure-hunters flocking to a small town in northern California for the second time in 150 years.

The great gold rush began in the Coloma Valley in 1848, and now a meteor rush is underway as stardust fragments sell for 20 times the price of gold.

The meteorite is thought to have been the size of a minivan as it hit the earth's atmosphere and broke up, scattering rare rocks across the California countryside.

It is a very rare type of meteor containing water and the building blocks of life, so collectors are paying as much as $1,000 (£600) a gram for prime specimens.

The locals have been searching fields, hillsides and even their own back gardens to cash in on the gift from above.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead joined the hunt for rare rocks in Coloma.