More Chunks of SUV-Smashing Meteorite Found

Three golf ball-sized fragments have been found from a meteorite that created a brilliant fireball seen over Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2009. The first meteorite fragment recovered did some damage to the windshield of a Nissan Pathfinder, and now two other fragments have been found on nearby properties. The meteor made headlines initially because it was captured on video by Western’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network (SOMN) on seven of its ‘all-sky’ cameras. The brightness was estimated to be approximately 100 times brighter than a full moon.

Initially, the owners of the SUV didn’t realize the “unusual” rock they found on the hood of the vehicle was a meteorite and chalked up the shattered windshield to vandalism and filed a police report.
Tony Garchinski said heard a loud crash just after 9 p.m. the night of the meteor flyby he didn’t think much of it. That is, until he awoke the next morning to find the windshield of his mom’s truck with a huge crack in it.

It wasn’t until two weeks later that his mother, Yvonne Garchinski, heard media reports that researchers from Western were searching West Grimsby, Ontario for possible fragments of a freshly fallen meteorite. The Garchinskis realized who the real culprit was in the case of the broken windshield — or more specifically, what.

The ‘what’ was a 46-gram completely fusion-crusted (melted exterior) fragment of an ordinary chondrite meteorite. Chondrites are arguably the most important type of meteorite because they are the least processed of meteorites and provide a window into the material which formed the early solar system. The meteorite is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old.

Phil McCausland, a postdoctoral fellow at Western’s Centre for Planetary Science & Exploration said, “Having both the video and the sample is golden because we get the dynamic information and the orbital direction from the video, and by having recovered material on the ground, we can complete the picture. We can take a rock that we now have in hand and we can study it in the best laboratories in the world and we can put it back into its solar system context. We can put it back into where it came from.”

The Garchinski property is just 200 meters off the fall line of the meteorite the Western Meteor Physics Group calculated using data from its video, radar and sound detection systems and thanks in large part to this research – along with a lot of luck – two more meteorite fragments have been found.

The second meteorite was found by the Western team not far from the Garchinski home but the land owner wishes to remain anonymous. The third fragment was found Oct. 18 by professional meteorite hunter Mike Farmer ( on the side of a road in West Grimsby.

The Western-led search continues and both Brown and McCausland believe more fragments will be found.

Source: Western University

4 Replies to “More Chunks of SUV-Smashing Meteorite Found”

  1. Interesting article. Over 50 years ago, I was young and living in my parents home south of San Francisco with a clear view of the Pacific Ocean sited about 400’feet (100meters) altitude. I was observing one clear night when I saw a meteor overhead become brilliant like a bolide about one moon brillance, the bolide continued on from east to west until it disappeared from view far west into the Pacific Ocean. It was about15–20 seconds later when the start of the strangeous heavy reverb rumbling sound,the loudness was like a heavy lightning strike 2 miles (3.6KM) away but the sound lasted about 30-40 seconds and reverb in ALL DIRECTIONS and was impossible to tell where it was coming from if you did not know there was a bolide involved.!!! The rumbling faded but still continued the reverb effect. I’ve been stationed in Texas and Kentucky and heard the nasty supercell thunderstorms blasting, but, they did not compare with the strange reverb that bolide performed. Many people in the entire San Francisco metro area heard the bolide rumbling as stated in the media. Perhaps the attitude of the bolide and the local air-mass in the San Francisco Bay area was the cause of the strange reverberation sounds.It is something I will never forget!!!!

  2. Prior to the meteor appearing brightly in the sky, a giant booming voice could be heard in the distance yelling, “FORE!”

  3. Yeah, uh, Allstate? I’d like to file a report of a broken windshield. Yeah. A meteorite hit it. No. I’m not drunk…

  4. From other press accounts of this meteorite fall, I think a debt of gratitude is due the Garchinski family for loaning their meteorite to the local college for in- depth chemical analysis and further study. According to Canadian law, meteorites become the property of the landowners on which the meteorite is found. I’m sure the family could have made a quick profit on their find by selling it to a private collector, who may or may not make it available to scientists for further study (similar to ‘hoarding’ by collectors of fossils or antiquities). As pointed out in the article, knowing the orbit of this meteorite gives it context that few other meteorites can claim.

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