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IMCA Insights – May 2010

The Cartersville Meteorite
by Dave Gheesling


At about 11:00 p.m local time on March 1, 2009, a meteorite was heard when crashing through the roof of a house in Bartow County, Georgia. An extensive search of the surrounding area has been conducted by the author and several others, but no additional stones have been found, most likely because the terrain does not present favorable recovery conditions.

The 294 gram Cartersville meteorite
The 294 gram Cartersville meteorite (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)

Impact artifacts remain on the meteorite’s surface, including roofing material, wood fibers from impact with the rafter, gypsum from passage through the ceiling and paint from a glancing blow with an interior door. Arrangements are currently being made to classify the stone, which is an ordinary chondrite originating from either the L or LL parent body.

Reverse angle image of the Cartersville meteorite
Reverse angle image of the Cartersville meteorite (Picture courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


The author in the attic of the impacted home
The author in the attic of the impacted home, with hole in the roof underlayment visible in the background (Picture courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


A meticulous search for the missing fragment was also conducted inside the attic and house, but nothing was found as it was almost certainly an air break.

Tellus Museum curator Julian Gray on the roof
Tellus Museum curator Julian Gray on the roof, indicating the position of the meteorite's entry into the house. A temporary patch had been applied beneath the hole by the landowner at the time the photo was taken. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


Robert Ward at the scene of terrestrial impact
Robert Ward, who participated in the extensive ground search, at the scene of terrestrial impact. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


Julian Gray, working in the attic
Julian Gray, working in the attic with the author to determine the entry angle and flight azimuth of the meteorite. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


Julian Gray, the author and Jose Santamaria
Julian Gray, the author and Tellus Museum executive director Jose Santamaria with the Cartersville meteorite and impact artifacts at the public announcement press conference. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


The Cartersville meteorite on display at Tellus Museum
The Cartersville meteorite on display at Tellus Museum, a spectacular, 120,000 square foot science museum that is also in Bartow County, Georgia. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


The author with the Cartersville meteorite
The author with the Cartersville meteorite, moments after having confirmed its meteoric origin for Tellus Museum -- making it Georgia's 25th recognized meteorite. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gheesling)


© 2010 Dave Gheesling/FALLINGROCKS.com

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