A meteorite exploded over the British Columbia/Alberta border at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time on October 4. Those who were awake and outside at the time had the opportunity to view arguably the brightest natural fireworks display they would ever see. Ruth Hamilton, on the other hand, was sound sleeping and received one of the space rock fragments instead. Hamilton told the Agassiz-Harrison Observer, “I just leaped up and turned on the light, I couldn’t figure out what the hell had occurred.”
A hot rock sat on the pillow next to Harrison, who had sprayed with debris from a hole punched in the ceiling. Harrison dialed 911, believing the boulder was a result of blasting at a nearby Kicking Horse Canyon construction site. “We called the Canyon project to check if they were conducting any blasting and they weren’t, but they did say they had seen a bright light in the sky that had exploded and created some booms,” Hamilton recalled, “but they did say they had seen a bright light in the sky that had exploded and caused some booms.”
“It’s almost a relief when we discovered it could only have fallen out of the sky,” Hamilton said, after initially thinking the sound that woke her may have been from a weapon or an intruder.
While Hamilton’s insurance company tries to figure out if her policy covers a situation, they have never seen before, the meteorite sent to Western University in Ontario. The softball-sized meteorite will be returned to Hamilton once its type has been determined, however, experts may want to purchase it if it turns out to be a particularly rare or scientifically valuable type. Collectors may be interested in an H chondrite, the most frequent meteorite class, but Hamilton appears to be more interested in a keepsake than money thus far.
Professor Peter Brown of Western University said, “It’s clearly a meteorite,” and is requesting that anyone who captured the fireball, including with dashcams, provide a copy to his team. If video is provided from numerous locations, it can be used to determine the path on which the asteroid entered the atmosphere, allowing the orbit of the asteroid to be calculated. Knowing the orbit and possessing samples of the actual rock can be extremely valuable scientifically for rare meteorites or those with particularly intriguing histories. After scientists discovered a second rock, residents were invited to search for further debris from the explosion.
Although disputed claims have been made for many deaths in ancient times, there is no verifiable record of a human being killed by a meteorite. Hamilton, on the other hand, is not the only person to have a near miss. A 2-kilogram (4.4-pound) meteorite struck a house in Indonesia just last year. In 1954 a woman in Alabama was actually struck by a meteorite. Fortunately, it was slowed her roof and bounced off a radio, expelling so much energy that all she received was a (very huge) bruise. Other human-meteorite encounters are still up for debate.
“The only other thing I can think of is that life is valuable and it may be taken away at any time, even when you think you’re safe and comfortable in your bed,” Hamilton told the Observer. I sincerely hope I never take anything for granted again.” Dinosaurs would most likely agree.