The Kitchener meteorite

Monday, May 24, 1999

meteorite halved
The Kitchener Meteorite was sliced open and shows a black fusion crust of about 0.5mm and a light coloured interior with particles of iron scattered though it.

This meteorite, weighing 202 grams, fell to Earth at 8:30am on Sunday, July 12, 1998. It passed close to the left shoulder of Orville Delong, who was walking up to the 6th tee. It was not actually seen to fall, but from the noise it made it was located embedded in the path about 4 metres west of the 6th tee. The detection of the short lived cosmogenic radionuclides manganese-54 and sodium-22 confirmed that it was travelling in space until a few seconds before it startled Orville.

The meteorite is completely covered with a black fusion crust about 0.5mm thick. This crust is formed of glass produced by the intense heat of friction as the meteorite slowed down in the atmosphere from its entry speed of about 15km per second (35,000 miles per hour). The interior of the meteorite is almost white, with particles of iron scattered through it. It is scientifically described as a class L6 chondrite and it probably originated in a body in the asteroid belt which lies between Mars and Jupiter.

Orville Delong holding the certificate
Orville Delong holding the certificate presented to him commemorating his find of the Kitchener Meteorite. Dr. John Rucklidge of the University of Toronto holds a replica of the meteorite.

The Kitchener Meteorite is only the 53rd meteorite to have been recognised in Canada, and therefore is an extremely rare and valuable object. The object held by John Rucklidge in the photograph is an accurate replica of the original. Parts of the meteorite, which has been cut open for examination, are kept in the National Meteorite Collection at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa, and the Department of Geology, University of Toronto. A replica may be seen at the Doon Valley Golf Course and the University of Waterloo's Earth Sciences Museum.