Last Sunday morning, a meteor the size of a minivan (but MUCH heavier) entered the atmosphere and BLEW UP – spreading fragments over the Sierra Nevada towns of Coloma and Lotus, California. The CNN affiliate, KXTV, reported that the first meterorite fragments were found on Wednesday, about one mile from where GOLD was first discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1848. The meteor was moving so fast that it produced a sonic boom that was heard all over Northern California. Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama said that the meteor weighed about 154,300 pounds. A minivan weighs about 4,000 pounds.
Meteorite hunter, Robert Ward, from Prescott Arizona rushed to Northern California after hearing of the explosion on Sunday and found fragments in a park. He told CNN affiliate KOVR that these fragments are the first of their kind to fall to Earth since the 1960s and that they are of immense value to scientists. Ward described the meteorite:
“This is a cm-2 carbonacious chondrite (meteorite). It is one of the oldest meteorites known to man and it’s also one of the most fascinating meteorites to science,” Ward said, as he scoured Lotus Park for another find.
Ward was not the only person who was interested in meteorites, at that location.
Petrus Jenniskens, the same NASA astronomer who trekked across the Nubian desert four years ago to recover fragments of a small asteroid and bring them home, said Wednesday he had found fragments of the space object on the asphalt parking lot of Henningsen Lotus Park, located in the small town of Lotus in El Dorado County.
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