The Iron River Meteorite and the Meteorites of Michigan


Meteor over Marquette, photo by Ash W Photography

Recently in Peter Peterson and the Iron River Meteorite on Yooper Steez, Alice Rossignol remembered a day in 1889:

…when a six-year old boy named Peter Peterson (yes, this was actually his name) was helping his father clear rocks from a field near Iron River.

Things were proceeding as usual (I’m assuming) when little Peter noticed that one rock was much heavier than others of the same size. He showed the 3.13-pound whopper to his father who told him to toss it like the others.

But Peter, being a six-year old boy, kept it.

According to Von Del Chamberlain, a former MSU professor who recounts this story here, the rock was later identified as a meteorite, a fact which he later confirmed.

How rare are confirmed meteorites? There have only been 10 verified in Michigan, and this meteorite is currently the only verified meteorite in the Upper Peninsula. Read on for more about this story and some meteorwrongs (mis-identified meteorites) and dig into Prof. Del Chamberlain’s account for the scientific lowdown and how it ended up in Chamberlain’s hands almost 80 years later. You can also read the entirety of Chamberlain’s publication Meteorites of Michigan online.

Ashley took this photo in August 2012 during the Perseid meteor shower. Check it out big as the sky and in her Nature Gallery.

More meteors on Michigan in Pictures. If you’re wanting to see some, the Geminids are on tap for the night of December 13th!

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