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

RCMP discover beaver the culprit in break-and-enter attempt

Nanaimo RCMP responded to a 911 call on Sun Valley Drive on Wednesday night

City of Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions rejected at local government conference

City council had contingent at Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

Recycling standards could get stricter at apartments and condos

Regional District of Nanaimo solid waste management plan calls for separation of recycling, organics

Choices made every day to protect sea life

Information is key to making sustainable decisions, says Pacific Biological Station researcher

Pickup crashes into lamppost on Bowen Road

Firefighters and paramedics were called to Bowen Road and Pryde Avenue on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

Pickup crashes into lamppost on Bowen Road

Firefighters and paramedics were called to Bowen Road and Pryde Avenue on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

Beefs & Bouquets, April 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo can get together to celebrate Earth Day

Farmers, artisans, honeybees, baby goats RSVP for party Saturday, April 21, a day before Earth Day

Recycling standards could get stricter at apartments and condos

Regional District of Nanaimo solid waste management plan calls for separation of recycling, organics

Nanaimo adds up the value of natural infrastructure

Environmental assets have dollar value, study finds

Cars lined up around the block as gas hits 109.9 in B.C. city

The gas wars continue in Vernon, B.C. with prices as low as $109.9 in North Okanagan

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Province’s $6.5M will help women escape violence, Public Safety Minister announces

Mike Farnworth made the funding announcement in Surrey Friday morning

Trial for gangland slaying of Jonathan Bacon takes a turn

Charges for three men charged in the 2011 murder of B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon have changed

Most Read