[meteorite-list] Possible Meteorite Lands in Northern CaliforniaRon Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Aug 23 12:22:36 EDT 2004
http://www.news10.net/storyfull1.asp?id=7864 Possible Meteorite Lands in Turlock Backyard ABC News 10 August 19, 2004 Lisa and Albert Darmousseh of Turlock may have a little piece of Mars in their backyard. At least they hope so. Lisa Darmousseh was watching the Olympics Monday just before midnight when she heard a thud in her backyard. She went out to investigate but didn't see anything. The next afternoon, she noticed divots in the backyard and what looked like several mushrooms or dog droppings. Her husband tried to pick one up with a paper towel and said it still felt hot. "When we saw it at 5:30 or so, the smoke was still coming out of this one," said Albert Darmousseh. The family believes what landed in their backyard was a meteorite that likely broke into three pieces on impact. The biggest piece weighs 137 grams, or about 4.5 ounces, and is the size of a grapefruit. The couple's nephew did a little investigating on the Internet and believes the rock has characteristics in common with ones from Mars. The family has contacted NASA to determine what to do next with the rock. Thousands of meteorites fall to Earth each year. Most burn up in the atmosphere or fall in the sea or remote areas. Only 31 recovered meteorites are known to have come from Mars, which makes them extremely rare and very valuable. Others have been found in Libya, Antarctica, and Southern California. The Darmoussehs say whether or not it's from Mars, it's still exciting to have a rock from outer space in their own backyard. "If it's from Mars, it would be the 32nd, and if it's not, how often do you find an asteroid in your backyard?" said Mike Darmousseh. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ http://www.turlockjournal.com/news/newsview.asp?c=120427 Mystery rocks may be meteorites Turlock Journal August 21, 2004 A few mysterious rocks were found on Tuesday at a resident's home in Turlock. Home owner's Albert and Lisa Darmousseh believe that the rock fell from the sky. The couple thinks the fist-sized rocks are meteorites, possibly from Mars, but it has not been confirmed the small boulders are anything other than ordinary rocks. Many people were watching the Olympics on Monday night, including the Darmoussehs, until Lisa was disrupted by a loud noise that she described as a thump. "I thought a tree fell in my backyard because the noise was so loud so I went outside and didn't see anything. The next day I went in the backyard to walk my dog and discovered the first meteor. At first I thought it was left over from my dog but then I noticed it was smoking," Lisa Darmousseh said. "I was not expecting this at all. I am very excited and I feel lucky that it happened here. Something like this to happen to us is amazing, Albert Darmousseh said. At first I was shocked and didn't know what it was. I never saw anything like it. I thought it was a mushroom or poop but then I saw that is was smoking and when I picked it up, it was hot so then I thought maybe it came from the sky." Is it a meteor from Mars or excrement from earthlings? The only way to tell is to have an expert in meteors examine the rock but the couple has not had it examined professionally. "Our expert has not confirmed that it is a meteor and our institute hasn't looked at it. We were told a friend of a friend looked at it but our lab hasn't confirmed that it is what they say it is," Linda Ceaver, the public affairs specialist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said. "I spoke with the family and told them that we need to perform some tests on it to determine what it is. We need to do a visual inspection and look at the interior of it. I cautioned the family that the majority of reports like this turn out to be something off an airplane, metal slags, rocks or all sorts of odd things. Based on the description that was given to me, it doesn't sound like it is a meteorite," Dr. John Bradley, director of the institute of geophysics and planetary physics at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said. Fewer than 5 percent are meteorites. If it is it is potentially valuable so it should not be contaminated, he said. "We are delighted to help them out and do this public service but we have not heard back from them. I think an appropriate expert should look at it," Bradley said. "I called a couple newspapers and the police and nobody knew what to tell me to do. Then I had family friend who works at Lawrence Livermore Lab take a look at it and he said that he thinks it is a meteor," she said. The man who she had examine the rock is not an expert on meteors so he is not qualified to confirm that the rock is indeed a meteorite. The other night CSPAN aired a sow on meteorites from Mars that have "blueberries" (multiple colored bumps and holes) on them and after seeing the show the Darmoussehs got the idea that their mystery rock might be a interplanetary rock from the closest planet to Earth. "The man from the lab said the pigment on the stone is referred to as blueberries so that's what leads us to believe that it is from Mars," Lisa Darmousseh said. The fire department came by the couple's home to see the "meteorite" followed by a visit from the police department. It was then determined that the material is not radioactive and it is safe to keep. It was at that time that the other two rocks were discovered. "These couple of days have been unbelievable. I feel surreal, we got pennies from heaven. We have been receiving calls from all over about the meteor," she said. "There are 22,000 meteors that have landed on our planet and only 31 meteors have been from Mars," Mike Darmousseh, the couple's nephew, said. It has brown with a little bit of purple, yellow, green and black on it. Two of three rocks are the size of a softball and the third is a little smaller. It burnt a small portion of the grass, where it landed. The couple was told to remove the grass that was surrounded it so it keeps it form and is not disturbed. "It is not that heavy at all and it smells like sulfur," she said. "My brother told me that two stars have fallen in my backyard and I forgot to tell him to make a wish," Anatole Darmousseh said. This would be 1 billion years old if it is the same one like NASA gas from Mars." "I have no idea at this point what to do with it," he said. The couple is waiting to here back from NASA. "It will be interesting to see what happens," she said. If it is a meteorite then the couple has the rights to it because it landed on their property. The couple has lived in their home for 7 years and they have resided in Turlock for 11 years. The Darmouseehs are the owners of Holly's Floral and Forget Me Not Floral in Turlock. -------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.modbee.com/local/story/9021025p-9916823c.html It came from space ... or did it? MIKE CONWAY The Modesto Bee August 20, 2004 TURLOCK -- Look, out on the lawn! It's a dead bird! It's a plane part! No, it's a meteorite, or three of them. At least that's what Albert and Lisa Darmousseh believe they found on their back lawn this week. The largest of the three specimens is fist-sized and weighs a bit over a quarter-pound. The Darmoussehs believe it landed at about midnight Monday. Lisa Darmousseh said she heard a thump in the yard about that time. She took a look, but didn't see anything. They discovered the biggest specimen Tuesday evening. "It's a real cool rock. It's amazing," Lisa Darmousseh said. "This is a wonderful discovery for Turlock and the world." Hold on, a couple of scientists said. They hadn't seen the objects and were not ready to proclaim a meteorite find. They said they are willing to take a look at the brown speckled things and analyze them. If the fist-sized rock is a meteorite, it is the remnant of something much bigger -- with the rest having burned up in Earth's atmosphere, said John Wasson, a cosmochemist who teaches geochemistry and chemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles. "There should have been a big fireworks display," he said. "You would think there would be all sorts of telephone calls reporting it." Police agencies in the Northern San Joaquin Valley did not report receiving any calls about unusual sightings Monday night or Tuesday morning. Most meteoroids burn up completely in the atmosphere. Those that survive the ride are called meteorites -- and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology reported that only about 22,000 have ever been found. Some are rocks coming off comets and 32 are from the planet Mars. The Darmoussehs said a television program convinced them that they have at least one Martian meteorite, because of its brown color and crystallized blue material referred to as "blueberries." Albert Darmousseh admitted, though, that the chances of it being a Martian meteorite are, well, astronomical. When they first saw it, they "thought it was a blob of poop," Lisa Darmousseh said. When her husband looked closer, he thought it was a shriveled toadstool. He went to toss it away before Krystle the dog ate it, and discovered it was hot and emitting vapors, he said. A friend with a science background said it looked like a meteorite, which launched phone calls and Internet searches. "I think the chances they have a meteorite are very low," Wasson said after hearing a description over the phone. "It doesn't sound like a meteorite, but who knows?" The largest rock from the Darmousseh back yard "has olive in it, purple in it, some green, it has some black," Albert Darmousseh said. Wasson said meteorites have a black or gray "fusion crust" created when they burn in the atmosphere. "The typical one is quite dark," he said. Livermore scientist willing to take a look John Bradley of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory talked with Albert Darmousseh, a lab spokeswoman said. "We haven't taken a look at it," Linda Seaver said. "After initial talks, he's not sure it's a meteorite, but he's willing to take a look." Jim Simpson, program manager for the county's Environmental Resources Department, has seen a photo of the Darmoussehs' largest specimen. "You look at it and you suspect it might be space debris," he said. "Maybe space shuttle-type foam material." The Darmoussehs said information from the Internet indicates that a Martian meteorite could be worth up to $2,500 a gram. Upon learning that, they decided to take their finds out of Rubbermaid storage containers and put them in a safe deposit box.
More information about the Meteorite-list mailing list