GOLDEN meteorite fall (L/LL5 chondrite, 1270 + 919 g) in Golden, British Colombia, Canada at around 23:33:43-49 MST on 3 October (5:33:43-49 UT, 4 Oct.) 2021

Last update: 8 November 2023

Ruth Hamilton holding her Golden meteorite. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

In an article on the website of ‘The Golden Star’ on 8 October 2021 (3:50 pm) Claire Palmer reported that a meteorite the size of a ‘man’s fist’ had fallen through the lower southwestern part of the tin roof of 66-year-old Ruth Hamilton’s house into her bedroom on the first floor, at location 51°17’43.3″N, 116°57’29.6″W, in Golden, British Colombia, Canada. It fell right next to her head on a pillow of her bed. According to Hamilton she had been sleeping since about 21.30 MST and had not heard the bolide’s detonation booms. Shortly before the impact Hamilton woke up because her dog was barking. She went back to sleep until she suddenly woke up because of a crashing noise and the feeling of the ceiling’s drywall dust on her face. She noticed a strong burning hot smell, similar to something being hot on a stove. After jumping out of bed and turning on the overhead light at 23:35 MST she saw the hole in her ceiling next to the western wall of her bedroom. Worried and not knowing what else to do at 23:50:21 MST she called 911 and while talking to the operator on the phone she went back into her bedroom, flipped back the top pillow on the left head side of her bed and found the 1270-gram meteorite (an L/LL chondrite, S2) and some fragments on the left side of her bed next to the other pillow. Hamilton did not notice the actual impact of the meteorite between the two pillows although it hit the pillow she was sleeping on, only inches from her head. She might have picked it up and put it back on the bed where she left it until the morning when she touched it again wearing some rubber gloves. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Fraser, who arrived at Hamilton’s house at 23:57:01 MST, had actually heard the meteoroid’s detonation boom around 23:35 MST himself, but first thought the hole was the result of some blasting from a roadwork construction site on the nearby Trans-Canada Highway in the Kicking Horse Canyon a few hundred metres north of her house. After being told on the phone by the construction management that there had not been any blastings around that time and that some construction workers had seen a bolide in the night sky and after that heard two detonation booms the officer came back to Hamilton and told her that her bed had been hit by a meteorite and left the house at 00:20:49 MST. Hamilton was unable to go back to bed until 5 a.m. that night and drank tea while watching TV in the living room. After some time she contacted Western University by e-mail. Hamilton kept the meteorite until 10 October when the meteorite was picked up by scientists of the University of Calgary who then forwarded it to scientists of Western University in London, Ontario for analyses which began around a week later. Around mid-December 2021 Michael Mazur, a Western University Ph.D. student in astronomy, delivered the main mass of the meteorite back to Hamilton who owns the meteorite. According to recent media reports Hamilton feels protective of her meteorite and doesn’t want it to be destroyed for commercial reasons. She doesn’t want to sell it unless it’s used for ‘a good cause’ or for a ‘good person’ who puts it on display. She would also like her meteorite to be used as an educational tool in an educational facility. A type specimen for classification has been cut off the main mass. Philip McCausland and Peter Brown are preparing a paper on the meteorite fall. According to Phil McCausland the calculated pre-atmospheric orbit is somewhat ‘unusual’ compared to others. According to published video recordings of the bolide the meteorite fall happened shortly after ~11:33:45 pm MST on 3 October (5:33:45 UT, 4 Oct.) when the bolide was recorded. About 30 seconds after the luminous trail was seen several detonation booms were heard for about 20 seconds in the area 11 kilometres north of Golden. Around the time of the fall the sky above Banff (97 km west of Golden) was partly overcast (9%) with a weak wind (4 km/h) from SSE and a temperature of 4°C (no precipitation, 75% air humidity).

“I was sound asleep in my bed. […] The next thing was like a huge explosion and debris all over my face. […] Just the drywall dust. […] I jumped up, turned on the light and saw a hole in my ceiling, I didn’t see the rock at that time. […] While the 911 operator was asking me questions I went back into the bedroom – I had been sleeping with two pillows – and I flipped one back and there was the rock. That was the first time I seeing the rock. […] So it actually slipped through the two pillows I was sleeping on. […] I never felt it, it never touched me, but it was within inches of my head.”

(Ruth Hamilton, 11 October 2021)

On 12 October it was announced that on 10 October field researchers from the University of Calgary including reseach Assistant Lincoln Hanton had found another meteorite specimen weighing 919 grams around location 51°18’25.4″N 116°57’41.0″W, about 1.32 kilometres north-northwest of Hamilton’s house. The meteorite is owned by the University of Calgary. The local population of Golden has been asked to look for other specimens in the area north of Golden. A map of the calculated fall area of meteorites has been published by Alan Hildebrand of the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. Anyone with relevant photos or videos of the bolide is asked to contact Western Meteor Physics Group at Any finders of possible meteorites are asked to send images (against a dark background with a scale) to So far only two specimens have been found. On 12 November 2022 GOLDEN (L/LL5, S2, W0) was officially added to the Meteoritical Bulletin Database.

Map of the calculated possible fall area. Image: Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary

The Hamilton mass (1270 g)

The 1270-gram meteorite main mass in situ on Ruth Hamilton’s bed, next to smaller fragments (of the meteorite and/or the asphalt shingles and the drywall ceiling). The meteorite left dark marks on the pillow with its floral design. The meteorite itself is reported to have marks of its impact with the metal of the roof. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

The 1270-gram meteorite which fell on Ruth Hamilton’s bed. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

The hole in the ceiling and the meteorite which fell on Ruth Hamilton’s bed. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

Hamilton holding her meteorite. A slab of 13.53 grams has been cut off for analyses including gamma-ray spectroscopy. Photo: Darrell Patton/Global News

The hole in the ceiling above Ruth Hamilton’s bed with the two pillows. Photo: Global News

The impact hole in the bedroom ceiling, stuffed with newspapers. The meteorite left white streaks on the western wall when it broke through the tinroof, subjacent asphalt shingles, plywood and the drywall ceiling. Image: Global News

The impact hole of the meteorite in the tin roof near the southwestern corner of the house. Up is east. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

The impact hole of the meteorite in the tin roof near the southwestern corner of the house. Up is east. Photo: Ruth Hamilton

The University of Calgary find (919 g)

The 70%-fusion-crusted second find weighs 919 grams. Photo: Lincoln Hanton/Alan Hildebrand

The second find’s broken face reveals the meteorite’s light grey lithology which indicates it being an ordinary chondrite. It was classified as an L/LL5 chondrite (S3/W0). Photo: Lincoln Hanton

The known fall locations (yellow dots) of the two masses of the Golden meteorite in and around Golden, BC.

The bolide

End of the bolide’s trail in the direction of Mount Whyte photographed from the approximate location 51°24’58.7″N, 116°12’59.2″W at the eastern shore of Lake Louise in Alberta, about 53.2 km from Hamilton’s house in Golden. Photo: Hao Qin (秦皓) (published: 9 October)

The bolide in the direction of Mount Whyte photographed in a 15-second-long sky image (Nikon DSLR) from location 51°25’01.2″N, 116°13’01.2″W at the eastern shore of Lake Louise in Alberta, about 53.2 km from Hamilton’s house in Golden. The bright bolide’s light has been artificially dimmed in this photograph to reveal the foreground of the lake. The termination point of the luminous trail, as seen from the eastern shore, has been calculated by BOAM to be at a height of about 22° above the horizon and an azimuth of about 264° (first trajectory point on the image: around a height of 36°, azimuth 275.5°). Photo: Hao Qin (秦皓) (published: 9 October)

Photos: Hao Qin (秦皓) (published: 9 October)

Video: Hao Qin (秦皓) (published: 9 October)

A dashcam video recorded the bolide for about 4 to 5 seconds while driving west on the Taravista Drive NE from location ~51°07’17.0″N 113°56’29.5″W to ~51°07’16.9″N 113°56’32.4″W in Taradale in the northeast of Calgary, about 211 km from the location of Hamilton’s house in Golden, BC. Video: eSmooves

The 5-second bolide at 23:33:45-50 MDT (camera time) recorded from location 51°09’53.9″N 113°46’16.6″W in Delacour near Calgary with a security camera which had just been set up. This is 222.36 km east of the fall location of the Hamilton mass. Video: Sheldon Nielsen, Calgary

Video recording the bolide in a western direction from location ~ 51°04’41.9″N, 114°03’24.9″W in Tuxedo Park, Calgary. This is about 203.63 km from the assumed location of Hamilton’s house in Golden, BC. Video: unknown

Animated GIF Video which possibly shows the ‘Golden’ bolide with several flares in a western direction, recorded from location 50°54’36.9″N 114°02’20.7″W in the South of Calgary, 208.26 km ESE from the impact location of the Hamilton mass. Video: Donald Hladiuk

Video image recorded from location 50°54’36.9″N 114°02’20.7″W in the South of Calgary, 208.26 km ESE from the impact location of the Hamilton mass. . Photo: Donald Hladiuk (published: 5 October)


Phil McCausland, an adjunct professor at Western University, and lead investigator, speaks with CBC Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre about a meteorite discovered in Golden, B.C. AUDIO (MP3) CBC Canada (16 January 2022)

Meteor experts looking for public assistance following meteorite crash in southeastern BC (Western University, 12 October 2021)

Interview with Peter Brown (Morning Live, CBC News, 13 October 2021)

Global News Hour at 6 BC, 12 October 2021

Interview with Ruth Hamilton, The Jas Johal Show, CKNW, Vancouver, Canada, 11 October 2021 (3-6 pm)

Interview with Ruth Hamilton, The Evan Solomon Show, 580 CFRA (14 October 2021)

Meteor gives Golden woman late night shock (Claire Palmer in ‘The Golden Star’, 8 October 2021)

IMO event 6241-2021