.

Scientist Now Believes He Has Found 2 Metorite Chunks

A rock that hit a North Bay home on Oct. 19 - first called a meteorite and then retracted by an astronomer - now appears to be a legit space rock when compared to second one found nearby.

For "rock heads," it's the quest for the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Convenant and Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket all in one.

As amateur meteorite hunters scour Novato and Sonoma looking for chunks of last week's fireball that broke up over the North Bay, the scientist who cried "Eureka!" followed by a quick "My Bad!" is now convinced there is not only one space rock found in Novato, but two.

"This is wild," said Leigh Blair, one of the Pleasant Valley neighborhood residents who has spent the better part of the week dealing with astronomers, both professional and amateur, along with curious neighbors and inquisitive media.

The rock found Oct. 19 at the home of Blair's neighbors, Rev. Kent and Lisa Webber, is back in the hands of Peter Jenniskens, a NASA astronomer based in Mountain View. He has made several trips to Novato in the past week and, as of Wednesday night, is convinced that stone is a meteorite, according to a post on his blog from the SETI Institute.

"An apology (to Lisa Webber) may have been too hasty," he wrote.

Jenniskens spent Wednesday evening at the home of Blair, her husband Luis Rivera and their 23-year-old son, Glenn, examining and discussing the findings with meteorite field investigator Robert Verish as the Giants' World Series game was shown on TV. Jenniskens and Verish talked about the second rock found at an undisclosed location about 2 1/2 miles from the Webber's home by meteorite hunter Brien Cook of Sacramento. The second rock is almost identical in size and appearance to the first one — about 2.2 ounces.

Cook broke up his rock and turned it over part of it to Jenniskens for an examination. Both stones have been sliced so their cores can be examined.

"We now understand that the layered structure of the fusion crust that made me doubt myself is not the result of terrestrial weathering," Jenniskens wrote on his blog. "That is a big relief! What a privilege to get to study such an unusual and hard-to-identify meteorite!"

Jenniskens told Blair he will head to UCLA to collaborate with a meteorite expert and compare slices of the two rocks found in Novato.

Glenn Rivera, a recent USC music graduate who is in the music promotion business, is now the owner of the first rock, his mother said. When Jenniskens told Lisa Webber that he believed he was incorrect with his initial finding, Webber gave the rock to Rivera, who had helped her determined it was magnetic — which led both of them to track down Jenniskens in the first place.

Meanwhile, Jenniskens is trying to arrange for a dirigible to fly over the trajectory path of the fireball to see if there are possible crash zones for larger chunks of meteorite in Novato and Sonoma counties.

 

What do you think of all the back-and-forth in the search for meteor rocks? Tell us in the comments.

 

Keep up on the coolest local news like this - follow Patch!

Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter

Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something