How to Identify Pieces of the Meteor that Blew up over Michigan
Reports have the meteor that streaked across southeast Michigan Tuesday night re-entering the atmosphere somewhere in Macomb County, with some pinpointing it to the area near 25 Mile Road and Card.
Phones at police stations and in newsrooms – including WWJ’s – lit up with questions and concerns. Some joked that it was an extraterrestrial visitor, others worried a bomb had exploded.
Wolverine Lake Police Chief John Ellsworth was so shaken by the electricity he felt in the air followed by a blinding flash that he told WWJ he thought it was the ‘beginning of the end.’
It was a meteor, one that NASA found was traveling at about 28,000 miles per hour. NASA data shows “that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by many observers).”
NASA scientists also found it “likely that there are meteorites on the ground,” noting that a staffer at Johnson Space Center found a “Doppler weather radar signature characteristic of meteoric material falling to earth.”
How likely would it be to find a chunk of it on the ground somewhere?
Michael Narlock, the head of astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science says it is possible there might be pieces on the ground of the meteor that caused a 2.0 magnitude earthquake across metro Detroit.
“It’s possible that there was this cataclysmic event that the entire object blew apart and everything just sort of disintegrated or became so fine as to become indistinguishable from anything else you may find lying on the ground.”
If you’re trying to distinguish meteor from regular rocks, look for rock that has a dark crust and appears to have been burned.
Would they be worth anything if you did happen to find a meteor chunk?
“It depends on how many of them there are,” Narlock said. “These types of incidents happen with some frequency, the last big one was in 2013 in Russia and you could buy pieces of that relatively inexpensively.”
Tuesday’s meteor lit up the night sky across metro Detroit, most of Michigan and surrounding states. The bright light was followed by a loud boom that residents said shook their homes and gave their pets a scare. Narlock was among those who were amazed at the display that shook up a random Tuesday night.
“It certainly was incredibly bright, it almost felt like daytime there for just a brief second,” Narlock said of his experience with the meteor.
The Department of Homeland Security and National Weather Service confirmed the meteor had entered the atmosphere.
CBS News – Detroit