Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science
METEORITE FALLS

CRESTON, CALIFORNIA

CRESTON, CALIFORNIA

CRESTON, CALIFORNIA

DATE/TIME

10/24/2015 @ 05:47 UTC

10/24/2015
05:47 UTC

LAT/LONG

35.572766 • -120.473317

35.572766
-120.473317

This is an estimated landing site map for this fall, color coded according to mass. Red is kg-mass meteorites, scaling down to yellow single-gram stones.

STREWN FIELD

This is an estimated landing site map for this fall, color coded according to mass. Red is kg-mass meteorites, scaling down to yellow single-gram stones.

SUMMARY

This meteorite fall was an evening fireball that occurred at 10:47 PM local time on 23 October 2015, or 24 Oct 2015 0547 UTC. The fireball was prominent and 218 eyewitnesses reported it to the American Meteor Society, almost exclusively across California. Fourteen credible eyewitnesses from around Paso Robles to San Luis Obispo, CA and points nearby reported hearing sonic booms from the falling meteorites.

Meteorites have been recovered from this event.

This event is recorded as American Meteor Society event number 2635 for 2015. Signatures of falling meteorites can be found in imagery from four nearby weather radars. In the NEXRAD weather radar network operated by NOAA, the KVTX (Los Angeles, CA), KVBX (Vandenberg AFB, CA), KHNX (San Joaquin Valley, CA) and KMUX (San Francisco, CA) radars record signatures of falling meteorites.

The first appearance of falling meteorites on radar occurs at 05:49:10 UTC and 16,460 m above sea level (ASL) in the 0539 UTC data set for the KVTX radar in the 4.5 degree elevation radar sweep. Signatures consistent with falling meteorites appear in a total of six radar sweeps from the two radars, with a final signature appearing at 06:00:03 UTC.

Calculations of mass and total number of meteorites based on weather radar data indicate that this meteorite fall is approximately 1.7x the total mass of the Park Forest, IL meteorite fall in 2003. The fragmentation behavior of the Creston fall is anomalous for an average meteorite, based on comparison with other meteorite falls seen in weather radar data. The Creston meteorite fragmented extensively, leaving relatively few large meteorites and most of the fall mass occurs as small meteorites. There are a few possible explanations for this, as the parent meteoroid may have been fragile due to a significant impact while it was still in space, it may have been composed of poorly-compacted material from an asteroid surface (a “regolith breccia”), or it may have shattered due to some feature of its infall such as a steep infall angle or high speed. At present, none of these hypotheses is the favorable answer.

Meteorites recovered from this event have been classified by the Meteoritical Society as an L6 chondrite.

Surprisingly, the Creston fall occurred about a half hour after another significant fireball, this one occurring only about 350 km (~220 miles) to the east. The American Meteor Society report for that event is number 2697 for 2015, and features 111 eyewitness reports. To date no meteorites have been recovered from this event.

LEARN MORE

RADAR & MAPS

This composite image shows all the radar signatures from falling meteorites as blue/gray polygons. This fall occurred in partly forested grasslands and a small number of meteorites were recovered.

RADAR SUMMARY

This composite image shows all the radar signatures from falling meteorites as blue/gray polygons. This fall occurred in partly forested grasslands and a small number of meteorites were recovered.

GET DIRECTIONS

Click on the View larger map link that is displayed in the address box above in order to get directions to the strewn field area.

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METEORITES 101

This step-by-step guide will show you how to locate possible meteorite fall sites using radar software and weather data along with info provided by reporting agencies and monitoring systems.
These instructions will show you how to best preserve the meteorites you discover and how to make contact with the organizations that are willing to accept and analyze your find.
Don't know exactly what a meteorite is, what they are made of or where they come from? If that's the case, we have provided a mini-"crash" course in what you need to know about them.
It turns out that meteorites have provided us a lot of scientific insight, not only into the origins of our solar system and planet Earth, but what the future might hold for mankind.
There's a lot going on in the study of meteorites, both here at NASA and in other places. Here are a few links to the people and institutions who are leading the research in this field.
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