Head-sized Meteorite Found From Canadian Fireball

Article written: 3 Dec , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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Several more fragments have been found from the 10-ton asteroid that exploded over western Canada on November 20, including a head-sized piece weighing 13-kilograms (28 lbs). Imagine that landing on your house or car (or head!). University of Calgary professor Alan Hildebrand, who is leading the search estimates there could be 2,000 fragments per hectare (about 2.5 acres) in the area near where fragments were initially found. The asteroid is becoming known as the Buzzard Coulee fireball, named after the picturesque, but luckily uninhabited valley where the first pieces were located. Check out the website of Bruce McCurdy of Edmonton Space & Science Foundation and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, who has joined in the search for more meteorite images.

More than two dozen pieces of the asteroid have been found by researchers or members of the public. The search is focused on a 24-square-kilometer section of agricultural land along the Battle River where the scientists calculated the debris would be located. Hildebrand was appreciative all the eyewitness reports and help from the public in obtaining as much information as possible about the fireball that lit up the sky. “I was gratified that my first prediction was close,” he said of his estimate of where the fragments could be found. “We couldn’t have done this so quickly without the eyewitnesses and security camera records, and we still need the security camera records to determine the pre-fall orbit of this asteroid.”

Searchers from the University of Calgary have been joined by other members of the Canadian Space Agency-funded Small Bodies Discipline Working Group, as well as members of the public who wanted to join the search and find a chunk of history. A father and son team found the big 13 kg piece, which was given to the rancher that owned the land on which it was found.

Sources: Bruce McCurdy’s website, University of Calgary


21 Responses

  1. Liede-Marie says

    Will there be consideration in selling pieces of the meteorite?!

  2. Jorge says

    Imagine that landing on your house or car (or head!).

    I prefer not to, if you don’t mind. It hurts just to think of it… 😉

    I wonder, though… shouldn’t a chunk this size dig a sizeable hole on the ground? Why aren’t there pictures of such holes?

  3. Procyan says

    What’s your offer?

    BTW/ Has anyone ever been hit/killed by a meteor impact? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate way to go? A zillion years before the humans evolved, your name was on this rock in space. And they wonder why you and I imbibe!

    Somewhat more seriously though, if you find a meteorite, especially if you think it is new, try to protect it from further contamination. Keep it dry and dessicated until you figure out what you want and are allowed to do with it. Expert help is advised. They will prevent sunburn by placing a well worn sweat-soaked cap snuggly onto the beast.

  4. Jorge- Look at some the pictures on Bruce McCurdy’s site and there is one of a hole in the ground.
    Nancy

  5. Jorge says

    Ah. Thanks.

    Hm… somehow I expected a bigger hole than that.

  6. Vagueofgodalming says

    Buzzard Coulee

    Yet more evidence that if you want a meteorite to land nearby, you should give your city (or valley) a romantic, evocative or just plain bizarre name.

  7. Ayti says

    I’d eat my hat if you could show that no people were killed by the Tunguska impact.

  8. Steven says

    >>>Procyan
    BTW/ Has anyone ever been hit/killed by a meteor impact?

    Nope Procyan, there has been no recorded human fatality from a meteorite. Although a dog was reported killed in the 19th century in Egypt if memory serves me correct, probably the most interesting meteorite impact in human terms was back in the early 1990’s when someones car in the USA was impacted by a meteorite. It was parked.

  9. Steven says

    Ayti

    >> No reports of people killed by Tunguska, but for all we know, a whole tribe of crazy snow loving people could have been wiped out.

    Some old traper reported that he was the only person that he knew that was in the area and he got blow of his feet by the blast.

  10. Hunnter says

    That meteorite is hardcore.
    Just sitting there like “oh yeah, i hit your Earth, but waddaya gonna do about it, eh?”

    Also, i’m pretty surprised by the impact crater… there is none!
    I’d have expected something that big to have done a bit more damage.
    Guess it lost some speed on explosion.

  11. trux says

    I found this one:

    “Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1923 – 1972) of Sylacauga, Alabama is the only person of record to have been hit by a meteorite. On November 30, 1954, she was napping on her living room couch when a grapefruit-sized meteoroid crashed through the roof of her house. It bounced off her large wooden console radio, destroying it, and struck her on the arm and hip. She was badly bruised but able to walk. …” more details at http://www.dailycognition.com/index.php/2008/03/05/7-unluckiest-people-in-the-world.html

    There are also numerous cases of very near misses, and of dammaged or destroyed houses. I remember even a story of a man in Croatia (or perhaps Serbia or Slovenia) who’s house was hit in several independent accidents – I cannot find the source now, but I believe it was three independent hits (in different years). Not sure whether it is really true (does not sound possible), but I remember the local academy of science was involved in the investigation.

    And I have also the feeling I read stories about people in India or China being killed or hit by a meteorite, but I have no idea how much creditibility the reports had.

  12. Jon Hanford says

    @trux, thanks for the link to the Alabama fall. I remembered reading about it sometime in the 1970’s but couldn’t remember the state or date. I also recall a news item from the early 1980’s about a small New England town that experienced 2 occupied dwellings being hit by meteorites, though these occured many years apart.

  13. Eric Near Buffalo says

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Liede-Marie Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 4:21 pm
    Will there be consideration in selling pieces of the meteorite?!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I hope not. Seriously. Would you really buy a piece? It’s a rock. Those things are laying all around you in the form of limestone, sandstone, igneous rock and granite. And I’ll bet that you won’t have to shell out a bit of cash in a strapped economy like the world is currently facing. Chunks of meteorites should be studied and not sold as merchandise.

    Now if you could buy dinosaur fossils en masse – then you’ve got my attention.

  14. robbb says

    love the hat! it’s somewhat amazing that there is no (recorded) death by meteorite. given the bombardment we take here.

  15. neoguru says

    Estimating its volume at about 3 liters, it has a density of about 4.3. I believe this makes it a stony meteorite of some sort. I think it’s far to light to be a nickel/iron.

  16. alandee says

    So .. what ? Oh, we put the cap on it _after_ it was found .. now it makes more sense ..

    Great for scale, I’d not have thought of a cap !

  17. […] Se han encontrado más fragmentos del asteroide de 10 toneladas que estalló sobre Canadá occidental el 20 de noviembre, entre los que se cuenta uno del tamaño de una cabeza humana que pesa 13 kg […] Vía Nancy Atkinson para Universe Today.

  18. ShadowDancer says

    —–
    Eric Near Buffalo Says:
    December 4th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I hope not. Seriously. Would you really buy a piece? It’s a rock. Those things are laying all around you in the form of limestone, sandstone, igneous rock and granite. And I’ll bet that you won’t have to shell out a bit of cash in a strapped economy like the world is currently facing. Chunks of meteorites should be studied and not sold as merchandise.
    —–

    Reply to Eric:
    Actually, there is a pretty good business for some people in selling meteorites. People have gotten wealthy doing it. Their are a number of people who go out and dig up meteorites (especially near the Arizona desert) to sell and who make a decent living at it. And their would be far fewer meteorites in museums if they didn’t also go out and buy meteorites from people who find them. I would also point out that most gemstones (diamonds, emeralds, topaz, etc.) are nothing more than rocks and even the rocks you mentioned above (limestone, granite – which is an igneous rock, BTW) are sold for a fair amount of money.

    Additionally their are a number of individuals, commonly referred to as rockhounds, who seriously go out and collect rocks – my grandmother did when she was alive. Personally, I was more into the ones with fossils in them, but her enjoyment of it and interest in all types of rocks is part of what got me interested in science when I was young. To a number of rockhounds, the finding of a meteorite would make a valuable addition to their collections.

    —–
    Liede-Marie Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Will there be consideration in selling pieces of the meteorite?!
    —–

    Reply to Liede-Marie:
    You can search google for meteorites for sale and some of them are quite beautiful. Its always possible that someone may find a piece of that meteorite and sell it.

  19. I would like to buy some, provided it comes with an export permit. Contact me if you have some to sell.
    http://www.mhmeteorites.com; email [email protected].

  20. Michelle St.Sauveur says

    I was lucky to see a Fireball back in the early 80’s in Coventry, RI USA on or about July 3rd. My best recollection is 1984. It moved slowly at a shallow angle across the western sky heading north, breaking up as it fell behind the tree line. Two others saw it with me. I understand that it hit in the area of Killingly Connecticut … not far from my location. Are there any public records of this Fireball strike during this time in Eastern Connecticut? I seem to recall seeing something on TV (perhaps the Discovery Channel) concerning this strike.

  21. troy says

    obviously more proof of inteligent life on mars. where else would the cap come from

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