[meteorite-list] Did meteorite slam Oakland?

From: Maria Nelson <dragonsoup_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:16:32 2004
Message-ID: <BAY4-F41reIkyJ9ZHu800028eb0_at_hotmail.com>

URL: http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0308/12/c01-242704.htm

Did meteorite slam Oakland?

By Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

DAVISBURG -- Live long and prosper -- and duck!

The Road Commission for Oakland County may have had a close encounter of the
shooting-star kind when what appears to be a meteorite hit one of its
maintenance facilities over the weekend.

"It happened sometime on Sunday when the yard was locked up and no one was
working," road commission spokesman Craig Bryson said. "Two workers came in
Monday morning and found an impact crater outside the main garage near the
employee parking lot. When they told me about it, I thought they were
kidding. What's next? We've hired Bigfoot as a snowplow driver?"

Bryson said the object left a 12-inch-by-18-inch-by-3-inch crater in the
lot, which may not seem impressive until one learns that the crater is in 6
inches of asphalt.

"The edges of the crater are seared black, and there's a fan-shaped debris
field spread out all around the site," Bryson said. "One of our employees is
an amateur astronomer, and he said it looks like every impact crater he's
ever seen."

There is a good chance it was a meteorite, said David Batch, director of the
Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University.

"It's possible, although the description of the crater having charred edges
bothers me a bit," Batch said. "It could have been debris falling from a
plane, although there's been no reports of anything like that. Fireworks are
a possibility, but it would have to be a very strong explosion to have made
that big a hole in asphalt. The best thing to do is to have the site
examined and have the debris analyzed."

Meteorites usually fall into one of three compositional categories:
nickel/iron, stone and stone mixed with iron, Batch said. They enter the
upper atmosphere at 40 miles per second but are greatly slowed by friction.

"If this was a meteorite, it was probably about the size of a fist or
larger," Batch said.

Workers have marked off the crater with orange cones.

"We're going to have our amateur astronomer contact some scientists and have
them take a look," Bryson said. "But what the heck? What else could it be?"

You can reach Tom Greenwood at commuter_at_detnews.com or (313) 222-2023.

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Received on Tue 12 Aug 2003 10:19:43 AM PDT

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