Meteorite fragments from fireball that illuminated British Columbia found

meteorite-fragments-from-fireball-that-illuminated-british-columbia-found

Researchers from the University of Calgary and their international colleagues have discovered the meteorite remnants from a large fireball that illuminated British Columbia, Canada at 05:11 UTC on September 5, 2017 (22:11 PDT, September 4). The size of this object was about 1 meter (3.3 feet) and its weight between 1 to 2 tonnes. Experts expect that interested people will be finding meteorites in the forest across the predicted fall zone for years.

The search group was led by Alan Hildebrand, associate professor in the Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary. "We thought that the best way to track the meteorite would be to ask members of the public to send us their videos of the fireball," Hildebrand says. "We had a great response and co-operation from many people, who gave us access to homes and businesses."

"We need to recover more and larger meteorites to learn what we can from this fall. For example, with enough pieces we can tell how big the rock was when it entered the atmosphere," says Hildebrand.

Thousands of meteorites, ranging from the size of a peppercorn up to rocks weighing 5 to 10 kg (11 – 22 pounds), will have fallen, but most will be in the forest that blankets the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake. Hildebrand expects that interested people will be finding meteorites in the forest across the "strewnfield" for years.

The team used the videos to pinpoint the meteorites’ location in the predicted fall zone — what researchers call a strewnfield — a 20-km (12 miles) stretch starting east of Crawford Bay, B.C., to the Kootenay Lake shore north of the village of Riondel.

With the prediction of where meteorites would have fallen, the UCalgary team headed into the search area and found the first meteorite on October 29 on private land in northeastern Crawford Bay.

Fabio Ciceri, a visiting master of science student from the University of Milan, made the first meteorite discovery. "At first I couldn’t believe it — ever since I was a child I got up with my father to see the night sky, and it was like a dream to hold a space rock in my hand,"  Ciceri said.

Meteorite fragment from September 5, 2017 BC fireball

Comparison of a remnant beside a nickle. Photo by Alan Hildebrand, Faculty of Science (source)

The researchers also encourage anyone running security or wildlife cameras in the Riondel area to check their cameras (September 4 fireball start time of ~22:11:25 PDT) to see if they captured the light and shadows cast by the fireball. This will help researchers determine the fireball’s end location so that more accurate fall locations can be predicted for the largest pieces.

The team plans to continue searching, but the approaching winter has made finding meteorites more challenging.

Featured image: British Columbia fireball on September 5, 2017 (UTC). Credit: S. Schofield, AMS

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Related articles



Your support makes a difference

Dear valued reader,

We hope that our website has been a valuable resource for you.

The reality is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to maintain and grow this website. We rely on the support of readers like you to keep providing high-quality content.

If you have found our website to be helpful, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to bring you the information you need. Your support means the world to us and helps us to keep doing what we love.

Support us by choosing your support level – Silver, Gold or Platinum. Other support options include Patreon pledges and sending us a one-off payment using PayPal.

Thank you for your consideration. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Teo Blašković

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us on Patreon

support us on patreon

or by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules:

  • Treat others with kindness and respect.
  • Stay on topic and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  • Do not use abusive or hateful language.
  • Do not spam or promote unrelated products or services.
  • Do not post any personal information or content that is illegal, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate.

We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate these rules. By commenting on our website, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Thank you for helping to create a positive and welcoming environment for all.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *