26 April 2009

Buzzard Coulee, Canada- Meteorite Hunters Return 25APR09

Meteor hunters return
Posted By Graham Mason
Meridian Booster, Lloydminster
The search for space rocks continue in Buzzard Coulee at the landing site of the meteorite that flashed across the November sky.
“It turns out that meteorites are easier to find with the snow gone (the weather changed dramatically last week), and the Easter weekend has seen a surprising number of recoveries with dozens found by many different people,” said Dr. Alan Hildebrand with the University of Calgary who has a new meteorite search blog. “The stand out was the recovery on Good Friday of another (approximately) 10 kilogram stone.
“The total mass and total number probably advanced by something like 15 kilogram and 100 stones on the weekend, but exact totals will probably never be known.”
Some of the meteorites found were showing signs of rust from sitting out in the field.
Hildebrand has set up a heated base camp at the site, which includes water, electricity and wireless Internet for people who volunteer their time to help search.
“One of the most fun things about searching (aside from finding a meteorite oneself) is seeing ‘new’ people make their first meteorite find,” said Hildebrand. “(On Saturday) four different people who were volunteering in our search teams had that experience.
Hildebrand hopes to solve the mystery of how the meteorites broke up by finding pieces that fit together.
“Lots of other people have collected meteorites and taken them away, so we may have to organize a ‘Pairing Party’ in the summer or fall, so we can get as many broken pieces as we can together to look for ‘mates’,” said Hildebrand.
Local resident Terry Chaisson described his experience as a volunteer searcher on his blog.
“I eagerly signed up and surprisingly my wife also wanted to give it a try so on my Friday off, my wife and I traveled 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,” wrote Chaisson. “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.”
Chaisson said some of the other volunteers traveled from as far away as Ontario.
Chaisson found a fragment of the meteorite on a morning when only one piece was found.
“The geologist verified that it was indeed authentic and was also a nice sized meteorite (estimated) to be over a hundred grams and worth over $3,000” said Chaisson. “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.”
“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.”
Article ID# 1538939

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