‘Crater’ in Decatur; UNT scientist says object from Earth, not outerspace

By Brandon Evans | Published Sunday, July 11, 2010

The director of University of North Texas’ planetarium and astronomy lab program said the object found embedded in a Decatur driveway on July 4 was not extraterrestrial.

Ron DiIulio has gathered meteorites and comet shards from the deserts of northwest Africa to the highlands of Peru. On Tuesday evening he examined the crater in Decatur.

“It happens to look like a meteor, but the stone is not hard enough,” he said.

He used a magnetic meteorite finder on the object, and it didn’t respond.

“When the magnet didn’t work, I knew we had a problem,” he said.

He couldn’t determine what it was other than an “odd imperfection in the concrete.”

Curtis and Margie Small discovered what appeared to be a meteorite in their driveway on Crestridge Court Sunday afternoon. Metallic flakes speckled a charcoal-gray stone protruding from a half dollar-sized hole.

“We’d never seen it there before,” Margie said.

DiIulio said the impact from a meteor crashing into the driveway would have also created cracks creeping from the crater.

“The bad news is you don’t have a meteorite, but the good news is you do now,” DiIulio said.

For their troubles he gave them a meteorite found in North Africa. He said the best places to find meteorites are in deserts and snow-covered terrain.

“Tons of material falls into the atmosphere every day,” he said, “but only a small percentage is actually large enough to make it to the earth.”

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