[meteorite-list] Did meteorite slam Oakland?

maria nelson dragonsoup at msn.com
Tue Aug 12 10:19:43 2003

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@detnews.com or (313) 222-2023.
The Detroit News Photo
The Road Commission for Oakland County returned to
work Monday to find a crater outside the main garage.


[meteorite-list] Did meteorite slam Oakland? Field Report

maria nelson dragonsoup at msn.com
Wed Aug 13 00:28:44 EDT 2003

Hi All,

Armed with my digital camera, four of my five meteorites, and chips of a
rare-earth magnet, I went out to Davisburg today to scope out the "impact
crater". While I wasn't quite sure what I'd do when I got there (I'm really
new at this), it became instantly clear when I approached the TV news van
parked in the lot.

During the interview (on camera) I was informed that the crater was created
by the exhaust pipe of a fire truck. It was pretty comical but the reporter
did let me show all of the meteorites I brought (some had Mike Farmer's card
still in the bag). Even though they didn't air that part, they did air a
cool part of the interview. I was asked if the lengthy drive was worth it
and I responded: "Yes, it was worth it. If this had been a meteorite we'd be
holding space rocks right now!"

Anyway, my first field expedition and report is now complete and I used up
about 15 seconds of my remaining 8 minutes of fame on a very worthy cause.

Space Rocks Rule,
Maria ;)

Meteorwrongs in the News

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