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#a260 :: Meteorite!

October 31, 2008

030908.jpgOh my gawd:

Readers of this blog know that I don’t tend to post gushy teenage exclamations like “oh my gawd” that often (as in, page never) But here it is, one of those Heavy Little Objects that really makes you say “oh, my effing gawd:

A chunk of bona-fide space rock.

But check the picture – click it to enlarge – it’s not like any rock I’ve ever seen. It’s all shot through with holes and what looks like some kind of organic matter, like veins or worms or something …

It all started a couple of hours ago, something huge and bright flew over our house in Silver Lake and smashed into Griffith Park, right near where the brushfires burned through in summer of 2007. There was a huge explosion, and I thought it might have been a plane crash or something that started a fire.

Well, it did, but I guess LAFD got out there in a hurry and put it out and it was not a plane but a good-sized meteorite, maybe as big as a city bus, and it’s almost buried in the hillside in a pit probably 40 feet deep and 200 feet across. It hit the mountain smack-on. I’m amazed no one was killed.

I just biked down there to investigate (not much traffic at this hour, the drunks are all still in the bars and all the other good citizens are in bed already).

LAFD got it mopped up fast, but now there’s a bunch of scientists from Griffith Observatory down there, and they’ve roped off the whole area with yellow caution tape around the rock, which apparently is still hot, and LAPD’s keeping everyone back.

I couldn’t get close enough to get a good photo, but from where I stood down on Riverside, it looked like a sort of cylindrical shape. TV choppers were just buzzing in. Nothing more to see until morning, and I gotta get up early to bike before work.

Anyway, I found this little chunk of meteorite in the bottom of a burned-out hole in the chapparal right off the road by the bike lane.

I guess it’s a chip of the main meteorite that must have flaked off either when the big rock hit, or maybe it broke off during re-entry (no, entry!) and just followed it down.

It was almost red-hot when I picked it up – I doubled up my bike gloves and tossed it into my handlebar bag – but it cooled enogh within the 10 minutes it took me to get back home to where my good camera’s set up to get a photo of it.

It’s still warm, and has a really ugly metallic/organic smell, sort of a cross between rotten meat and burnt clutch lining.

I’m wondering if it has something to do with the meteor showers that a few people around the world have been Twittering about. I saw @jaybushman said another meteor hit Pershing Square downtown.

Definitely one for the permanent collection …

Bed now, though. I’ll check out the scene again tomorrow on my morning ride, though by then, CNN will probably be allll over it …. Just checked, though, and the damn cable’s on the fritz.

Filed under: Artifact, Found Object, Microfiction, Part | Comments (0)

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