Bay Area residents hunt for meteorites

October 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Meteorite hunters are scouring the Bay Area looking for chunks of space debris. They can be sold for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars at auction.

Bob Verish is looking for pieces of meteorite in Mill Valley that would be from the meteor that blazed across Bay Area skies Thursday night. Verish drove from Battle Mountain, Nevada Thursday morning. According to his calculations, the debris from last night's car-sized meteor likely landed somewhere between Mill Valley and points north and west.

"The reflection from the stones that fell seem to start here in the Mill Valley area. It definitely was flying low and dropping rocks along a path, maybe even 50 miles north of here," said Verish.

"All of a sudden the inside of my car lit up like a flash of lightning," said Gerald McKeegan.

McKeegan saw the meteor fly by in the skies above Lafayette. An astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills, McKeegan says finding exactly where the debris landed, in the absence of specific eyewitness accounts could be extremely difficult.

"First of all they look like just rocks on the ground. Second of all, they're spread across a huge area. I'd say the track is 15 miles long," said McKeegan.

For those looking, Verish says the pieces from the meteor as small as a grape, or as big as a grapefruit. Light on the inside, dark on the outside, much like a charcoal briquette.


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