Skip to main content

Meteorites from flaming fireball over Mississippi scattered across the state

an image of a meteor streaking above a river in Spain
A meteor streaking above a river. (Image credit: Carlos Fernandez/Getty Images)

A flaming meteor that blazed across three southern U.S. states April 27 has left rocky remnants scattered across parts of Mississippi, where residents are collecting them.

The meteorite fragments seem to have turned up not far from Natchez, Mississippi, though officials have declined to identify the exact locations where they have been found, NASA Meteor Watch reported in a Facebook post (opens in new tab).

Dozens of skywatchers spotted the fireball as it streaked across the sky around 8:03 p.m. local time. The blazing meteor, which at its peak was 10 times brighter than the moon, created shock waves and struck with the force of 3 tons of TNT, Live Science previously reported.

After reanalyzing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES 16 and 17 satellites, the team determined the space rock was zooming through the sky at about 35,000 mph (56,000 km/h) when it exploded, much lower than the 55,000 mph (88,500 km/h) initially estimated, according to the Facebook post. 

NASA Meteor Watch shared an image of a coal-colored hunk of space rock in a Facebook post on May 2. The chunk hit the ground at 200 to 300 mph (321 to 482 km/h), reported NOLA, a local news site for New Orleans (opens in new tab).

NASA has asked people not to send in their hunks of space to be analyzed. Instead, those who find potential meteorite fragments can use this checklist from Washington University in St. Louis to help identify it.

And it's finders keepers when it comes to extraterrestrial rocks.

"Existing law states that any meteorites belong to the owner of the property on which they fell; out of respect for the privacy of those in the area, we will not disclose the locations of these finds," the NASA Facebook post read.

While the rarest and most special meteorites can fetch up to $1,000 per gram, unclassified black space rocks, or chondrites (which images seem to suggest are akin to the ones that landed in Mississippi last week), typically garner the lowest price, at about $0.50 per gram, according to Geology.com (opens in new tab).

Originally published on Live Science.

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.