Meteorite fall (H5) in Chago K’asa, Panamá, Ch’awar Mayu, and Villa Granado, near AIQUILE, Cochabamba, Bolivia on 20 November 2016, ~9:45-57 p.m. UTC (~5.45-57 p.m. BOT) (UPDT: 22 Dec)

Last update: 22 December 2016

In the evening of November 20, shortly before 6 p.m. local time, three to four detonation sounds were heard by the Quechua villagers in the area around Aiquile in Bolivia’s departamento Cochabamba. A daytime bolide leaving a white ionization trail was seen in the sky by dozens of people. Initially it was believed that there had been a plane crash or an earthquake. On 21 November the Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile informed the public about the meteorite falls and published the first photos of found masses. On 22 November the mayor of Aiquile, Luis López, reported that many meteorites, brecciated H5-chondrites, had fallen within a radius of about 60 km in the four communities of Chago K’asa, Panamá, Ch’awar Mayu (Panama), and Villa Granado in Cochabamba. The local government sent communal staff members, including Marco Cardona, to the fall locations to register GPS coordinates and asked the local population to go to the Museo Del Charango in Aiquile to have their meteorite finds registered. Two meteorites found on 22 November are said to have a diameter of about 20 to 20 cm. They have been brought to the Museo Del Charango in Aiquile and will be exhibited there. One large meteorite found by communal staff members weighs 36.3 kg, two others weigh 5785 g and 1285 g. Roberto Soto is reported to have found two masses of 2.55 kg and 0.5 kg. In Tabla Mayu (Chago K’asa) a child found fragments of a meteorite which had fragmented on impact on a terrestrial rock on the ground. Eyewitnesses as Fidel Torres, who was working outside fixing the roof of his house, report that they heard three to four detonation booms which sounded like dynamite explosions with the last sounds reminding them of machine gun fire.
On 29 November 2016, in its LEY MUNICIPAL N° 069, the municipal government of Aiquile declared the Aiquile meteorites a ‘patrimonio municipal’, a natural municipal heritage, because of the meteorites’ ‘invaluable valor histórico – científico’, their historical and scientific value, as well as their ‘atractivo turístico’, their potential as future tourist attractions. Act N° 69 de-legalized any commercialisation and trafficking of Aiquile meteorites or their fragments and called for an organized systematic search for meteorites as well as a control and safeguard of the strewn field area. The municipal executive of Aiquile is asked to take all the necessary actions for the meteorites’ recovery, preservation and protection, in an appropriate place that guarantees an adequate conservation. A commission of the Ministerio de Minería travelled to Aiquile to analyse the meteorite fragments. A search team of SERGEOMIN (Servicio Geolgico da Bolivia / Miguel Angel Muriel, Coria Guillermo), the local Aiquile government (Marco Cardona), André Moutinho, Jose Maria Monzon, and Sergio Medina was formed and a systematic search was performed during which some smaller masses including a 100-g-specimen (18°17’09.8″S, 65°08’34.1″W) were found. By 16 December the type specimen cut from the 100-g-mass found by André Moutinho had already been classified as an H(5)-chondrite by Prof Maria Elizabeth Zucolotto (Museu Nacional/UFRJ, Brazil) and analysis data were sent to NomCom by Moutinho on that day.

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A large 36.3-kg mass which fell in the community of Panama. / Photo: Vladimir Terceros

A large 36.3-kg mass which fell in the community of Panama. / Photo: Vladimir Terceros

36.3-kg Aiquile mass in the Museo Del Charango Aiquile / Photo: J. M. Monzon

36.3-kg Aiquile mass in the Museo Del Charango Aiquile / Photo: J. M. Monzon

The 36.3-kg mass in the Museo Del Charango Aiquile. Photo: J.M. Monzon

The 36.3-kg mass. Photo published by Percy Cardona Olmos (25 Nov 2016)

The 36.3-kg mass being removed from its fall location. Photo: Franz Navia

36.3-kg Aiquile main mass, found by Celedonio Veizaga in Cruz Loma, next to two other masses (2.55 kg and 0.5 kg ?), found by Roberto Soto in Panamá, being prepared for an exhibition in the Museo Del Charango Aiquile / Photo: Marco Cardona

Most likely the impact pit of the 36.3-kg mass. Photo: Marco Cardona

Aiquile (prov.) meteorite / Photo: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile

Fragments of an Aquile (prov.) meteorite / Photo: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile

Meteorite near or at fall location. (unconfirmed information: Weight almost three pounds and possibly found in Panama). Photo: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile

A meteorite found in the comunidad Tabla Mayu (Chago K’asa). Photo: Gualberto Olivera

A meteorite found in the comunidad Tabla Mayu (Chago K’asa). Photo: Gualberto Olivera

Terrestrial rock in Tabla Mayu (Chago K’asa) which was hit by a meteorite which fragmented on impact. Photo: Unitel

Most likely one of the impact pits on a dirt road. Photo: Unitel

The 5.783-5 kg mass. / Photo: G. Hupe

1.285 kg specimen found under a small willow tree on 6 December / Photo: R. Ward

Meteorite found on a field in Barbechos (Chago K’asa) / Photo: Mario Claros Herbas

Meteorite found in Ch’awar Mayu (Panama). / Photo: Rodrigo Camacho

Meteorite found on a field in Barbechos (Chago K’asa) / Photo: Mario Claros Herbas

Meteorite found in Ch’awar Mayu (Panama) in situ. / Photo: Rodrigo Camacho

100-g-specimen, found by A. Moutinho in the community of Panamá (18°17’09.8″S, 65°08’34.1″W), which was used for classification by Prof Maria Elizabeth Zucolotto (Departamento de Geologia e Paleontologia of Museu Nacional/UFRJ, Brazil). Photo: André Moutinho

According to unconfirmed information this photo taken by Hugo Cardona and published by Percy Cardona Olmos shows the bolide’s ionization trail minutes after the detonation booms were heard.

LEY MUNICIPAL N° 069

Computer-generated English translation of
LEY MUNICIPAL N° 69:

PDF         DOC          ODT

LEY MUNICIPAL N° 069 / Photo: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile

LEY MUNICIPAL N° 069 / Photo: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile

LINKS
Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile
Robert Ward Meteorites

VIDEO

ATB Digital, 23 November 2016


ATB Digital, 23 November 2016

Bolivision TV, 23 November 2016


Bolivisión al día, 23 November 2016


Unitel – La Revista (23 November 2016)


Unitel – La Revista (23 November 2016)


Searching for meteorites. / Video: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Aiquile


ATB Digital, 22 November 2016


ATB Digital, 22 November 2016


22 November 2016

Eyewitness report of a Ch’awar Mayu (Panama) citizen. / Video: Rodrigo Camacho