[meteorite-list] Viñales meteorite fall report
From: Michael Farmer <mike_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2019 16:07:30 -0700
I just spent a week in Vi?ales.
The stories about the fall are incredible.
I?d like to share a few things regarding the fall.
I speak fluent Spanish so getting the information was easy.
One farmer was in his yard feeding chickens when he saw the bright flash for a couple of seconds he said brighter than the sun. Hard to see because the sun was also in the same direction. It then he saw the smoke trail overhead expanding once it passed over. A couple minutes later the sonic booms and shockwave hit. he said it was like being punched. Then a minute or more after the shockwave hit, stones started falling all around him.
He heard individual pieces screaming in making whistling sounds and hitting the ground. One hit his garden about 50 feet away. Another landed in the pond about 100 feet away, making a large water splash. Another hit in the coffee plants behind his house. He said stones were falling for over a minute or two. Hitting at different times. They didn?t all come down at once.
He and his family found 4 near his house. One he heard hit in thick brush and it hasn?t yet been found. One hit a yucca plant nearly Cutting the trunk in half. He found that stone 5 days later embedded in the soil at the base of the plant.
His wife found another across the street of almost 1 kilogram. It was embedded in the soil and only the top surface was showing.
One boy on a bicycle was riding home rapidly afraid from the explosions. He thought it was an American missile attack. A large 250 gram meteorite slammed into the asphalt road in front of him nearly hitting him. He saw it bounce into the ditch and he jumped off the bike and grabbed it, rapidly throwing it down because the stone was painfully cold.
Another stone landed on the patio of the guesthouse Where I stayed in downtown Vi?ales town.
I spoke to three other people who saw stones hit the ground and picked the up instantly, all said same thing, that they had to drop them because they were so cold.
One stone penetrated a house roof in Vi?ales and smashed a laptop computer. I have not located the stone or computer to confirm. Possible the police confiscated it. I have people working on it. I know of at least 15 houses hit. All stones taken by the government.
I drove all over the Vi?ales Valley area, a massive area and no part was spared meteorites. They were everywhere. Heavily scattered and not well sorted.
10 gram stones fell a few feet from 2.5 kilogram stones. 50 gram, 500 gram. All same place.
Miles away in the town of La Majagua, thousands of small peas landed. Sadly few were collected. The area is dense jungle and forest. Some people reported picking up over 100 stones in a short time. Many thrown away or given to the government. People came from far away and took pieces. Miles up the road to the east is the El Salto lake. Many stones were found on the dam. It has been heavily searched and I spent a few hours there and didn?t find any. Some people reported going into the pine forest nearby and finding many small stones on the pine needles on the ground.
Sadly a massive heavy rain came last week only a couple days before my arrival washing away the roads and making finds much more difficult. With limited time I didn?t make any finds.
Most stones that landed in the soft farm soil penetrated in and vanished under the soil. Before the rain people could see the impact holes and locate the stone below. Now after the rain they are impossible to locate. Stones are still being found in grassy pastures and fields. But ticks are a problem. Within moments of entering the grass you will be covered in tiny ticks. I?m still looking for them.
Stones are reported as falling in Pilotos village as well. This is due to the high winds that curved the strewn field sharply to the east. Doubtless millions of stones fell. The energy was 1.5 kiloton and the mass was 350~ tons. If 99 % vaporized there would still be 3 tons on the ground.
The problem is that the main part of the strewn field with larger pieces is all jungle, mountains and dense tropical forest. Not much chance of many large ones being recovered, and the largest masses made it to the ocean.
Hard to estimate what?s been recovered. I?d put it at 30-50 kilograms or more.
I have a limited number of complete crusted stones from 10 grams up yo about 50 grams. I was able to decide what to purchase so I only took the best pieces. Money is severely limited in Cuba due to no access to American banking. Impossible to use any credit card or bank card. Cash is heavily taxed. Changing is dollars incurs an instant 13% penalty tax!
If you want a gorgeous complete stone contact me rapidly. There aren?t many of them. Mostly fragments.
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Received on Fri 22 Feb 2019 06:07:30 PM PST