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Tucson is epicenter of meteorite strike

  • Updated

Tucson is the epicenter of a meteorite hunt and scientists want Tucsonans to help them look for the space rocks.

At 7:11 Tuesday night a large meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere northeast of Phoenix and broke up over Marana, said Robert Ward, a voluntary field researcher representing the Chicago Field Museum.

The massive fireball caused sonic booms, rattled windows and scattered much of its debris on the northwest side.

Now, a cadre of scientists is in Tucson hunting for the remnants.

Ward, who lives in Prescott, hunts for meteorites all over the world, and is especially excited that broke up essentially in his backyard. He arrived in Tucson early Wednesday morning with his team to begin the search for meteorites. He is working with representatives from NASA and the American Meteor Society.

Because they can only search on public lands, Ward and his colleagues are asking private residents to contact him if they find meteorites on their private property so he and other scientists can plot the meteor’s course. Residents should photograph the meteorite and email it to Ward at

Areas where the searchers are focusing include the intersection of West Linda Vista Boulevard and North Linda Vista Place; West Ina Road and North Thornydale Road; and West Ruthrauff Road and North La Cholla Boulevard.

Find out how to identify meteorites at the Institute for Meteoritics website.

A post on the American Meteor Society website shows a map where the meteorites hit the Tucson area, a brief video of the fireball over Phoenix and a skycam photo of the fireball along with witness accounts. Anyone who saw the meteor can also make a report of the sighting on the website.

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