An aerial survey has been launched in the Shuswap Lake area of British
Columbia for a crater believed carved by a meteorite more than two weeks ago.
Dr. John Galt, director of the
Dominion Observatory here, spent 2 1/2 hours in a helicopter Friday, criss-crossing
the area but saw nothing that resembled a crater.
Dr. Edward Argyle, astronomer at the
observatory, said however, it is believed that the March 31 fireball, seen in
various parts of B.C. and Alberta, and accompanied by loud explosions and the
shattering of windows in some areas, exploded in the earth's atmosphere with
the force of a small atomic bomb.
"Based on considerable evidence from
eye-witness accounts," he said, "I believe the meteor was very large and broke
up at an altitude of five miles. The descriptions indicate to me the meteor
was crushed by atmospheric pressure and it was fragmented into tens of
thousands of pieces, the largest of which became a white-hot meteorite on its
75 TONS OF TNT
He said a seismometer at a weapons
establishment at Suffield, Alta., recorded a shock caused by the meteor to
equal the explosive force of 75 tons of TNT. Suffield authorities thought the
shock was caused by the meteorite striking the ground.
"But if my hypothesis is correct,
there must have been a tremendous release of energy at an altitude of five
miles, something of the order of an atomic explosion," said Dr. Argyle.
A metallic fragment found near
Kamloops and sent to Ottawa for testing, had been sent on the Smithsonian
Institute in Cambridge, Mass., which has the best testing equipment."