Meteorite yields record number of fragments

A meteorite that crashed into Alberta last year blazed a fireball across the sky. It was tracked by a couple of security cameras. The details of its trajectory were calculated and that let scientists know about where it came down. Fragments were found on pond ice in short order. Since then, volunteers have been looking for the pieces. They’ve brought in more meteorite fragments than ever before for a single strike.

Alan Hildebrand, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Planetary Science, said more than 1000 meteorite pieces have been discovered in farmers’ fields in the Buzzard Coulee region just southeast of the border city of Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan and thousands more remain to be recovered now that the search has resumed.

“Now that the snow is gone we have lots of work to do. In the last few weeks we’ve resumed the search and, on average, collectively searchers are finding dozens a day,” said Hildebrand. “The meteorites came through the winter pretty well; some show a bit of rusty weathering on broken surfaces, but the fusion crusts haven’t changed very much.”

The Buzzard Coulee asteroid fragment weighed approximately 10 tonnes when it entered the atmosphere, and it is estimated that more than 10,000 pieces larger than 1 gram fell to the ground.

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