What’s the link between a horse riding and a meteorite? Probably none for 99.9% of all cases. But not for Frank Hommel, in Texas! Because it’s while he was organizing such a horseback ride, that his horse stopped in front of the second largest chondrite meteorite (weighting 345 kg) ever discovered in the United States!

Clarendon meteorite laying in the ground, as it was discovered by Frank Hommel on a horseback ride. Credit: Frank and DeeDee Hommel

Clarendon meteorite laying in the ground, as it was discovered by Frank Hommel on a horseback ride. Credit: Frank and DeeDee Hommel

The meteorite, called Clarendon (c) meteorite, has then proven being a chondrite L4 meteorite. “Chondrite” refers to the rocky body contains chondrules (tiny crystallized spheres that contains the elements that primary composed our Solar system). It thus originated from the crust of an asteroid which was ejected millions or billions of years ago during a collision.  The size and weight of the space rock ranks it as the second biggest meteorites ever discovered in the United States, after the Paragould meteorite, which landed in Arkansas in 1930.

From the external state of the rocky body, it must have stood there for dozens of years and it must have been exposed to the air thanks to deflation of the floor. But if such a meteoroid entered the atmosphere right now, it would probably induce a fireball at least as bright as the Full Moon! A meteor that people are encouraged to report it, for scientists to be able to look for another big meteorite fall (it happenend a few months ago with Osceola meteorite in Florida), and for the sake of science!

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