Research student Fabio Ciceri holds a fragment of the meteorite that exploded in September near Crawford Bay. Photo submitted

Meteorite fragments found in the Kootenays

The pieces found near Crawford Bay came from the fireball that exploded over Kootenay Lake in September

Doug Anderson has a hard time believing that a piece of meteorite, which travelled throughout space and exploded over Kootenay Lake in September, somehow landed in his backyard.

Anderson and his wife Beverly own 20 acres of land near Crawford Bay. Just like hundreds of other observers from across Western Canada and the United States, the pair witnessed the fireball flash across the sky and explode on the evening of Sept. 4.

“It was unbelievable how close that was to us,” said Anderson. “It lit up the house for about five seconds, maybe even longer. Then I went upstairs to our deck and the sonic boom was bellowing down the lake. It was quite a phenomenon. We had no idea really what it was.”

Nor did they have any idea a fragment of that meteorite would plummet into their land.

A piece smaller than a nickel was found Oct. 29 on the Anderson’s property by a team of researchers from the University of Calgary. Anderson had previously been contacted by Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the university, who asked permission to take a look.

Related: Researchers spot space rock that lit up B.C. Interior

“I said, ‘Why us? Out of all the millions of acres around here, why are you keen on our property to start with?’ [Hildebrand] said they have various methods of tracking the fireball,” said Anderson.

Those methods were detailed in a statement released Nov. 9. Hildebrand’s team said an asteroid weighing one to five tonnes and a metre wide turned into a fireball when it hit the atmosphere near Priest Lake, Idaho.

According to the statement, the fireball then travelled across the U.S.-Canada border, passing Creston before exploding near Crawford Bay.

To find fragments of the meteorite, researchers examined four videos submitted from the public and used footage from a dedicated all-sky camera at Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies to triangulate its likely landing spot. That ended up being an area of 20 kilometres east of Crawford Bay and northwest across Bluebell Mountain to the north shore of Riondel.

Related: Fireball lights up B.C. Interior

The first piece found was on Anderson’s land, but he said Hildebrand’s team discovered fragments on several other nearby properties as well.

One of those properties belongs to Roswitha Strom. She’s lived on her 40-acre lot for over three decades, and only heard about the fireball through the news after sleeping through it.

“I didn’t think they’d find anything, but it’s hard to tell,” said Strom. “If that thing was as close as going over the peninsula out here then there’s a good chance that it did spew some off the side. I really didn’t think that they’d find anything, but they did.”

Strom said three pieces were found by the team, who used a tractor to scour her land.

“It’s like ploughing, except you’ve got these bars of magnets instead of the plough,” she said.

Nine fragments of the Crawford Bay meteorite, which is a type of rock called chondrite, have been found so far by Hildebrand and his assistants Fabio Ciceri and Lincoln Hanton.

Hildebrand, who has been searching for meteorites since 1994, told the Star one might land in Canada once every five years. The fragments can show everything from what’s occurring in an asteroid field to how elements are made in what he calls stellar environments.

“They are irreplaceable bits of data about the origin of our solar system,” he said.

Hildebrand said he plans on returning to Crawford Bay to continue the hunt for more fragments.

“It’s not just a rock to put on your shelf,” he said. “They bring all kinds of information for us.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The fragment found on Doug and Beverly Anderson’s land is smaller than a nickel. Photo submitted

Just Posted

Liberals lukewarm on budget

Liberal North Okanagan-Shuswap MLAs unimpressed with NDP budget

Viper players finalists for league honours

Ty Taylor and Josh Prokop of Vernon Vipers nominated for league hardware

Overnight chill falls short of Feb. 21 records

Icy temperatures across the Okanagan-Shuswap don’t beat lows set in 1910, 1894

Vortex skaters set for Games

North Okanagan well represented in many sports for B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

RCMP continue investigation into missing Sun Peaks man

Ryan Shtuka disappeared after leaving the village of Sun Peaks on Feb. 17

Thief helps himself to cash register

Vernon business asking for public’s help to identify suspect

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

The SilverStar Dreamweavers Society gives back to the community

It’s all about helping the local community at Silver Star

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

Vernon comes to the attention of politicians around the world

Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920 is the subject of a presentation at Vernon Museum

Legion seeks community support to keep doors open

It is one of the Vernon’s oldest social enterprises, and on April 30, it may be forced to shut down

Most Read