Research student Fabio Ciceri holds a fragment of the meteorite that exploded in September near Crawford Bay. Photo submitted

Meteorite fragments found in the Kootenays

The pieces found near Crawford Bay came from the fireball that exploded over Kootenay Lake in September

Doug Anderson has a hard time believing that a piece of meteorite, which travelled throughout space and exploded over Kootenay Lake in September, somehow landed in his backyard.

Anderson and his wife Beverly own 20 acres of land near Crawford Bay. Just like hundreds of other observers from across Western Canada and the United States, the pair witnessed the fireball flash across the sky and explode on the evening of Sept. 4.

“It was unbelievable how close that was to us,” said Anderson. “It lit up the house for about five seconds, maybe even longer. Then I went upstairs to our deck and the sonic boom was bellowing down the lake. It was quite a phenomenon. We had no idea really what it was.”

Nor did they have any idea a fragment of that meteorite would plummet into their land.

A piece smaller than a nickel was found Oct. 29 on the Anderson’s property by a team of researchers from the University of Calgary. Anderson had previously been contacted by Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the university, who asked permission to take a look.

Related: Researchers spot space rock that lit up B.C. Interior

“I said, ‘Why us? Out of all the millions of acres around here, why are you keen on our property to start with?’ [Hildebrand] said they have various methods of tracking the fireball,” said Anderson.

Those methods were detailed in a statement released Nov. 9. Hildebrand’s team said an asteroid weighing one to five tonnes and a metre wide turned into a fireball when it hit the atmosphere near Priest Lake, Idaho.

According to the statement, the fireball then travelled across the U.S.-Canada border, passing Creston before exploding near Crawford Bay.

To find fragments of the meteorite, researchers examined four videos submitted from the public and used footage from a dedicated all-sky camera at Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies to triangulate its likely landing spot. That ended up being an area of 20 kilometres east of Crawford Bay and northwest across Bluebell Mountain to the north shore of Riondel.

Related: Fireball lights up B.C. Interior

The first piece found was on Anderson’s land, but he said Hildebrand’s team discovered fragments on several other nearby properties as well.

One of those properties belongs to Roswitha Strom. She’s lived on her 40-acre lot for over three decades, and only heard about the fireball through the news after sleeping through it.

“I didn’t think they’d find anything, but it’s hard to tell,” said Strom. “If that thing was as close as going over the peninsula out here then there’s a good chance that it did spew some off the side. I really didn’t think that they’d find anything, but they did.”

Strom said three pieces were found by the team, who used a tractor to scour her land.

“It’s like ploughing, except you’ve got these bars of magnets instead of the plough,” she said.

Nine fragments of the Crawford Bay meteorite, which is a type of rock called chondrite, have been found so far by Hildebrand and his assistants Fabio Ciceri and Lincoln Hanton.

Hildebrand, who has been searching for meteorites since 1994, told the Star one might land in Canada once every five years. The fragments can show everything from what’s occurring in an asteroid field to how elements are made in what he calls stellar environments.

“They are irreplaceable bits of data about the origin of our solar system,” he said.

Hildebrand said he plans on returning to Crawford Bay to continue the hunt for more fragments.

“It’s not just a rock to put on your shelf,” he said. “They bring all kinds of information for us.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The fragment found on Doug and Beverly Anderson’s land is smaller than a nickel. Photo submitted

Just Posted

Isaiah Therrien skates down the ice with the Port Hardy Bantam Hawks. (Nicki Ranger photo)
Port Hardy Minor Hockey aims to grow amidst COVID-19 pandemic

‘As a parent, I’m just excited my son’s getting a chance to play’

BC Ferries’ Northern Expedition holding in Port Hardy while technicians repair the S-radar. The sailing was delayed by two days, leaving passengers stranded. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Northern Expedition rescheduled to sail for Bella Bella, Prince Rupert after mechanical issues

The S-radar malfunctioned twice, causing a two-day delay in Port Hardy

RCMP officer Chris Voller was honoured at a gathering hosted by Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw members. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Officer Chris Voller says farewell to the North Island

“One of the biggest impacts you can have is having a pre-existing relationship with an individual.”

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read