Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meteorites Under Lloydminster

On Friday I had a chance to go search for meteorites just south of Lloydminster. Last November a large Meteor exploded over Lloydminster and lighted up the evening sky over all of western Canada. The University of Calgary, Department of Geology and Geophysics has been studying the event and has been organizing the search for pieces of the meteor. After a long break over the winter, they have just re-started their search efforts and were looking for volunteers. I eagerly signed up and surprisingly my wife also wanted to give it a try so on my Friday off, my wife and I travelled down to the Marsden area and spent the morning trudging though a farmer’s field looking at the ground for a rock that appears slightly out of place.

The method used is similar to CSI in that a line of searchers, separated by about four feet, walks back and forth looking straight down. When a suspected rock is spotted it is not touched, but tested with a magnet and tagged and bagged by the search leader. The two previous days had produced 15 and 31 meteorites but the field that was picked for search that day was a bit west of the main area and only one meteorite was found. Luckily I was the one who spotted the metallic rock.

The Geologist verified that it was indeed authentic and was also a nice sized meteorite. She estimated it to be over a hundred grams and worth over $3000! Unfortunately, we did not get to keep the rock as all rocks found belong to the land owner and University as per some agreement between them.

I enjoyed the experience as I have always been fascinated by astronomy and space. Now I can say that I found part of the large meteor I and many other saw on Nov 20, 2008. My wife did not have the same enthusiasm so we called it a day at lunch time - just as the team was about to move to a more promising search location.

All of the volunteers so far appear to have travelled large distances just to be part of the search. Two from Calgary, two from south of Saskatoon and two drove all the way from Ontario! For more info, or to volunteer you can go to the website set up by Dr Alan Hidebrand

1 comment:

Graham Mason said...

Hey Terry, interesting stuff. I'm with the Booster here in Lloyd, I'm looking at doing a story on the meteorite search for Wednesday and I was wondering if you'd be interested sharing some pics or comments.