Five US institutions to share meteorite pieces (Update)

Aug 21, 2013

Five U.S. institutions will share parts of a rare meteorite that exploded in a fireball over California last year, The Field Museum said Wednesday.

The meteor dates to the early formation of the solar system 4 to 5 billion years ago. It was probably about the size of a minivan when it entered the Earth's atmosphere on April 22, 2012 with a loud boom. It was seen from Sacramento, California, to Las Vegas and parts of northern Nevada.

Field Museum curator Philipp Heck said the institution will preserve the meteorite for "future generations of scientists who will be armed with analytical tools which we can only dream of today."

The Smithsonian cut the 205 gram meteorite into five sections that will go to five institutions: The Field Museum in Chicago; the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington; the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; and the University of California-Davis.

Scientists plan to use the pieces for research. They used a CT scan to determine the meteor's age and chemical composition.

Private collector Robert Haag owned the meteorite and contacted Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Studies. She contacted the other institutions to discuss sharing the piece.

After the explosion it was possible that bits of the meteor were strewn over an area as long as 10 miles (16 kilometers), most likely stretching west from Coloma, where James W. Marshall first discovered gold in California, at Sutter's Mill in 1848.

Explore further: SpaceX mile-high escape test will feature 'Buster' the dummy

Related Stories

Smithsonian keeps meteorite that fell in Va.

Mar 21, 2011

(AP) -- A small meteorite that crashed through the roof of a Virginia medical office last year is becoming part of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington.

Field Museum in US to limit scientific research

Dec 19, 2012

Chicago's renowned Field Museum, a major center of global scientific research, has announced plans to cut staff scientists and curators, overhaul operations and limit its research scope because of a high debt load and the ...

Recommended for you

Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun

May 01, 2015

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into ...

20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

May 01, 2015

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds ...

Giant telescope takes close look at Jupiter's moon Io

May 01, 2015

With the first detailed observations through imaging interferometry of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.