Field Museum

Piece of Michigan Meteorite Arrives at Field Museum

The fragment is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old

A piece of the meteor that lit up the night sky in Michigan earlier this month has arrived in Chicago for study at the Field Museum.

The peach pit-sized meteorite arrived via FedEx on Wednesday, and scientists at the museum’s Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies are already hard at work studying it.

“It was probably tens of feet in diameter and it was moving pretty fast when it hit our atmosphere, and it broke apart,” Dr. Philipp R. Heck said.

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Dr. Heck believes that the meteorite came off of an asteroid that was orbiting somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. Estimates are that the meteorite is around 4.6 billion years old.

The meteorite was found two days after it fell from the sky. Meteorite hunter Robert Ward found it on a snow-covered lake near Hamburg, MI, and instead of selling it for profit, which some hunters do, he donated it to the Field Museum instead.  

Scientists at the museum are now looking at the meteorite under an electron microscope, and are hoping the fragment will reveal details about our solar system.

 “We’re looking at where it came from, how long it was in the universe, (and) what kinds of impacts it made as it tumbled through our atmosphere,” Corrie Moreau, Director of Integrated Research at the Field Museum, said. 

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