A few months ago, residents of Starr County reported a loud blast accompanied by a streak of fire falling from the sky. A meteor traveling nearly 30,000 mph with energy equal to eight tons of TNT landed on a remote ranch near El Sauz, Texas. It was reported that the entire Rio Grande Valley, all the way into Mexico, heard and felt the shock from sonic booms.
The specimen was tracked by Marc Fries, a NASA planetary scientist and his wife Linda Fries, as well as meteorite hunters Robert Ward and Phil Mani. It is more than 1,000 pounds, and fragments will continue to be discovered for several years. Rhiannon Mayne, chair of Meteoritics and Planetary Science and curator for the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery at TCU, says, “Marc does the radar work, and everyone listed searched and aided in the discovery of several pieces.”
Of the first five meteorites that were found, the most notable rock is being shipped to Houston, where it will undergo classification. After this the meteorite is being donated to TCU’s Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery by the owner of the ranch.
Mayne says, “The Monnig Meteorite collection is one of the largest university-based meteorite collection in the world with 2,500 meteorites and 3,000 total pieces.”