A Canadian woman is thankful to be alive after a meteorite ripped through the roof of her home Oct. 3, barely missing her.
“It all happened really quickly,” Ruth Hamilton, of Golden, British Columbia told Nexstar. “The dog barked and then I think within two minutes the meteor came crashing through my roof.”
Hamilton speculated that her 5-year-old Australian shepherd Toby might have heard the meteorite passing through the atmosphere before it crashed through her tin roof around 11:35 p.m.
The meteor chunk hitting the roof sounded like an explosion, but at first Hamilton, 66, had no idea what had happened – only that she had dry wall dust all over her face and a sizable hole in the ceiling.
It was only after calling 911 that she realized what happened.
“I flipped back the top pillow and the rock was sitting there, it slipped between the two pillows,” she said. “It didn’t bounce either, so that’s probably a good thing.”
Hamilton said she didn’t handle the meteorite much to preserve it as much as possible, and donned rubber gloves when she did pick it up.
“It’s very heavy, it’s quite smooth. It looks like compressed black sand because it burns when it goes through the atmosphere,” she said. “To think that it’s billions of years old, that it was orbiting earth for such a long time.”
Hamilton said she’s loaned the meteorite to Western University in Ontario for a month so researchers can test it. A team from Western University and the University of Calgary are now analyzing the meteorite and asking anyone with surveillance cameras in the area to check their footage.
“We are asking people in Golden, Kelowna and Cranbrook and all places in between to check their home and business security cameras as soon as possible as some may automatically delete important files in the next few days,” said Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair in planetary small bodies. “Video footage from smart phones, dashboard cams, and security cameras are vitally important in tracking the origin of this meteor, and by knowing its origin, we’ll have a much better chance at telling a complete story of this incredible astronomical event.”
Scientists with the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience used the fireball’s estimated trajectory to identify the likely site of additional debris, where they ended up finding another chunk of the meteor near the side of a road.
“We strongly expect that dozens of more meteorites will have fallen, and encourage residents to be on the lookout as they do their yard work and walk in the indicated strewn field area,” said Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary.
The research team said the meteorites have a “dark gray egg-shell-thickness crust with a light gray interior,” and are dense and attracted to a magnet.
Meantime, Hamilton is making plans for the meteorite once it’s returned to her. She said she’s looking forward to showing it to her grandchildren and possibly the students at a local school. She added that she’s already received several offers from prospective buyers and may end up selling it one day.
For now, however, Hamilton said she is just feeling blessed and enjoying a new perspective on life.
“I’m thankful to be alive, to come out of this unscathed,” she told Nexstar. “You know, you hug your loved ones and you don’t leave mad or anything like that because you could go in your sleep one night. Don’t take life for granted.”