Fri Nov 2, 2012, 02:26 PM
eppur_se_muova (26,328 posts)
NASA searches for meteorite in north Alabama (Cullman Times)
By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
Fri Nov 02, 2012, 09:05 AM CDT
CULLMAN — A Huntsville-based team from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is expected to return to Cullman today to continue searching for a meteorite that was seen streaking across the northern Alabama sky, causing a loud boom Tuesday afternoon.
The team began looking in an area in the northwest portion of the county Wednesday. According to Dr. Bill Cooke, a NASA meteor expert, the team found several possible pieces, but after testing them Thursday, they ended up being nothing of note.
“It was just a bunch of earth rocks,” Cooke said. “Finding them is often like that; we just have to keep trying.”
Cooke said Tuesday’s event was a rare one, stating that since the 1800’s, there have only been six meteorite falls recorded in Alabama — the latest one in 1954.
“It’s been almost 70 years since a meteorite fall has been seen in Alabama, “Cooke said. “So if we, or someone else finds a piece, it will be the seventh recorded one in Alabama.”
Located only a dozen miles north of Montgomery, in the City of Wetumpka, is an ancient
meteor crater over twice as large as the famous Barringer Crater near Flagstaff Arizona.
The asteroid impact at Wetumpka produced Alabama's greatest natural disaster in the last 81.5 million years. Based on formulae developed to study the effects of nuclear weapon detonations, the area of total devastation (atmospheric shock wave with peak overpressure exceeding 14 kPa) would be within a radius of 40 km. Similarly, the maximum clearday infrared flashburn radius would have been 47 km. These areas are indicated. Continuous ejecta (rock particles from the impact) would have fallen over an area within 7.5 km, and random rock falls would have covered a much larger area. A Richter-magnitude 8.5 to 9 earthquake would have occurred at crater center.
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