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Fireball finds! Meteorite fragments from dazzling Michigan meteor found on ice

By Elizabeth Howell
January 22, 2018, 4:41:06 PM EST

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A rock, pulled out of the snow, that meteorite-hunters say likely traces back to a fireball that exploded over Ann Arbor, Michigan Jan. 16, 2018. Credit: Larry Atkins


The team of Larry Atkins, Robert Ward and Darryl Landry made the finds on an isolated Michigan lake — they declined disclosing the exact location so as not to draw unwanted attention to the lake and its residents. In an interview with Space.com, Atkins said he plans on continuing the hunt for at least the next week.

The first find happened around 9 a.m. EST (1300 GMT), and Atkins discovered a second one himself just 15 minutes later. "It looked like a perfect black charcoal briquette, with a little snowdrift on top," Atkins told Space.com Thursday. Based on his two decades of experience hunting meteorites — fragments of rocks that remain after some space-rock fireballs break up in the atmosphere — he said there was no question it was from space. The rock showed up clearly on the fresh ice, although from a distance Atkins did question whether it was a small pile of leaves.

The finds had masses of between 20 and 100 grams, and were small enough to "fit in the palm of your hand," Atkins said. He added that from a quick look at the meteorites, they all appear related and they all looked like ordinary chondrites — the most common type of meteorite found on Earth. The team has already picked out one sample they plan to send to the Field Museum in Chicago, Atkins said. The rest they will keep for their personal collections, they said.

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