1,000-Pound Meteorite Strikes South Texas

NASA confirmed that a half-ton meteorite made impact outside McAllen last week.

The sky did in fact fall over Texas last week.

On February 15, residents in Hidalgo County reported hearing loud booms and feeling the ground shake just before 5:30 p.m. Scientists later confirmed that a 1,000-pound meteoroid had broken apart as it entered the atmosphere before coming to a rest outside McAllen.

McAllen Meteorite

Robert Ward - American Meteor Society

According to NASA, the meteor was seen at around 5:23 p.m. The meteor's speed was about 27,000 miles per hour, and carried the same amount of energy as eight tons of TNT. Fortunately, there were no reports of injury or property damage.

“Based on analysis of preliminary information from several sources, NASA experts believe the object was a meteoroid about two feet in diameter weighing about 1,000 pounds,” NASA said in a statement. “The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls.”

“Although meteorites tend to hit Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they slow as they travel through the atmosphere, breaking into small fragments before hitting the ground,” the statement continues. “Meteorites cool rapidly and generally are not a risk to the public.” 

The first fragment of the meteorite was recovered on February 18th by planetary science researcher Robert Ward on private property near El Sauz.

Anyone who finds these meteorites is urged to contact the Smithsonian so they can be studied.

“The meteor seen in the skies above McAllen is a reminder of the need for NASA and other organizations to increase our understanding and protection of Earth, to combine scientific and engineering expertise to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary research for furthering our understanding of the solar system, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk,” NASA said.

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