The Hunt For Meteorites Is On

Photo of a meteor captured by cameras of Western's Southern Ontario Meteor Network.

Only two days after Western University announced its cameras caught a meteor burning up over St. Thomas, people are on the way to search for debris.

Researchers asked the public on Friday to help find one or more meteorites they believe crashed 5-6 km north and northwest of St. Thomas.

Dr. Bill Cooke, of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, says usually meteorite falls attract a lot of attention.

One of the world’s only full-time meteorite hunters Michael Farmer says he can’t come to search in St. Thomas because his son was born this week, but say the city should expect to see lots of action.┬áHe says he has already spoken to a number of colleagues who are on the way to hunt in St. Thomas.

Researchers says the meteorite will look like a dull black rock, with thumbprint sized pock marks and will be heavier than a normal piece of stone. Dr. Cooke is reminding searchers to talk to a landowner before searching on their land. Canadian law says the landowner also owns any piece of rock found on their property.

The hunt can be profitable. Farmer says meteorites can be worth anywhere from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending how rare they are. Farmer has sold meteorites to universities, museums and collectors in the past. He says when searching on private land, hunters usually make a deal with the landowner before searching a property.

A scientist from NASA says a meteorite is found St. Thomas could go down in history. Meteorites are named for the community they are found in.