Sun, April 18, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science

Wis. man finds rock believed to be meteor fragment

2010-04-18 08:58:27 GMT2010-04-18 16:58:27 (Beijing Time)

This black and white photo from a rooftop webcam released Thursday, April 15, 2010, by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences shows a fireball as it passed over Madison, Wis., Wednesday night. (AP Photo/University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences)

This April 14, 2010 image made from a dash cam provided by the Howard County Sheriff's Department shows a meteor, top right, near Cresco, Iowa that passedover Eastern Iowa. Sonic booms shook trees and houses in the area. (AP Photo/Howard County Sheriff's Department)

Scientists say an apparent fragment from a meteor that lit up Midwestern skies this week has been recovered in southwestern Wisconsin.

The fragment weighs 0.3 pounds and is about the size of an unshelled peanut. The meteor had streaked across the sky about 10 p.m. Wednesday and was visible from southern Wisconsin and northern Iowa to central Missouri.

University of Wisconsin geology professor John Valley says fragment has a so-called fusion crust. The paper-thin blackened coating results when a meteor superheats as it speeds through the atmosphere.

Valley says the man who found the fragment lent it to university scientists for a two-hour analysis.

Based on preliminary tests, the meteor appears to have come from the vast asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.


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