San Carlos (Maldonado) (prov.)

Fall (LL6, S4, W0) in San Carlos, Maldonado, Uruguay, ~ 2:45 p.m. local (5:45 p.m. UTC) on 18 September 2015

San Carlos (prov.) meteorite. Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

The regmaglypted wedge-shaped meteorite (LL6, breccia) weighs 712 grams. Its maximum dimensions are ~ 10 (L) x 9.1 (H) x 6 (B) cm. It has a volume of 208 cm³ (3.42 g/cm³).

The meteorite fell into the Olivera-Torres family’s one-storey building in INE 14 ( 34°47’20.8″S, 54°56’01.1″W ) in the western Lavagna district of San Carlos in the department Maldonado, Uruguay. The home owner and his wife had gone out. Their daughter who usually sleeps in her parents’ bed while they are absent had decided to sleep in her own room for a change after she had come home around sunset. She went to bed at about 2 a.m. local on 19 September. After waking up the next morning she was surprised to see daylight shining through the ceiling of her parents’ bedroom. After she had seen the hole in the wooden ceiling panel she noticed that the fabric and the wooden grill near the edge of her parents’ bed was broken and a yellow floor tile below had been splintered and broken.

The parents’ bedroom hit by the meteorite. The photo shows the broken ceiling panel, the hit bed below as well as the damaged TV set. Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

Then she saw the meteorite on the floor next to western wall of the room but thought it was an ordinary stone somebody had thrown at the house. She called the parents who came home and removed the fragments of the corrugated fibre cement roof sheet (dolmenit) and the wooden ceiling panels which were scattered all over the room. When they switched on the TV set they noticed strange colourful distortions on the screen which indicated that the TV screen had equally been hit by an object during the fall of the meteorite. Because of the rock’s enormous penetrating power the family suspected that the object had to be a fallen meteorite and contacted Gonzalo Tancredi of the Departamento de Astronomía de la Facultad de Ciencias and sent photos. The scientists believed that other meteorites might have fallen west of San Carlo but a couple of searches did not result in any further finds. The family gave the meteorite to the Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de la República for research. A fragment of the meteorite was sent to the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro for classification. On 14 October 2015 a press conference about this fall was held. The petrological and geochemical analyses were performed by the Instituto de Ciencias Geológicas (Uruguay) and the Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro (Brasil). Four additional fragments are reported to have been found north of San Carlos. On 16 September 2016 José María Monzón and Valentina Pezano claim to have found a specimen of 1.45 g at a location 2.4 km north of the find location of the main mass. Some time later José María Monzón is reported to have found two other specimens (~ 50 g, 4.5 g). Another specimen of unknown mass is reported to have been found by San Carlos Farmer Mr. Enrique Martinez. At the ACM 2017 on 14 April 2017 the oral presentation A METEORITE IMPACT[S] A HOUSE IN SAN CARLOS, URUGUAY (Pablo Núñez Demarco, G. Tancredi, M.E. Zucolotto, L.L. Antonello and J.M. Monzón) was presented by Pablo Núñez Demarco. The main mass of the meteorite was presented as well.

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Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

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Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

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The uncut regmaglypted San Carlos meteorite. Photo: Jose Maria Monzon

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The uncut regmaglypted San Carlos meteorite. Photo: Maldonado Noticias

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Impact hole in roof and ceiling panel. Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

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Meteorite at its find location in bedroom. Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

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The area west of the hit house.

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The hit house at the western edge of San Carlos.

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The house hit by the meteorite. Image: Departamento de Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias

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UPDATE (26 September 2018):

A meteorite impacted a house in San Carlos, Uruguay

P. Núñez Demarco, G. Tancredi, M.E. Zucolotto, L.L. Antonello, J.M. Monzón, V. Pezano, A. Tosi, C. Villaça

Planetary and Space Science
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 26 September 2018

LINK (OPEN ACCESS)

“Highlights

• The paper presents the case of a meteorite that impacted a house in San Carlos (Uruguay).
• The meteorite is classified as a LL6 chondritic breccia, with a shock stage S4 and a degree of weathering W0.
• It is the first Uruguayan meteorite to be confirmed.”

“Every year there are now almost two reports of meteorite falls that directly hit human beings or their belongings, which we call “damaging falls”. A new damaging fall occurred on September 18, 2015, when a meteorite impacted a house in the city of San Carlos (Maldonado, Uruguay). A 712 g stone broke through the asbestos cement roof and a wooden suspended ceiling. The meteorite and its fragments broke a wooden bed frame and a TV set. We conducted petrological and chemical analysis of the sample. The meteorite is classified as a LL6 chondritic breccia, with low content in siderophile minerals and moderate chondrule size. It has a shock stage S4 and a degree of weathering W0. This is the first Uruguayan meteorite to be confirmed. The prevalence of damaging falls is discussed.”

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