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Wed, July 27, 2005
Meteorite hits tractor

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -- An unusual rock that fell out of the sky, through a shed and into a tractor earlier this month appears to be a meteorite, says a director with the Geological Survey of Canada.

After viewing photographs taken of the stone, Alan Galley said the rock has the characteristics of a "stony meteorite" created by the gradual collection of space dust.

"It's actually the process in which the planets formed where you get dust from space that agglomerate together. If it happens enough you have a planet, but in other cases you have a meteorite," said Galley, speaking from the federal government agency's office in Ottawa.

An afternoon picking strawberries took a bizarre twist for Adeline Kelly on July 17 when a chunk of rock plummeted from the sky, penetrating the tin roof of a shed and piercing the manifold of a tractor on her and her husband's Montney ranch, just north of Fort St. John. The stone bounced several times after landing. Adeline searched for the object and eventually found a small, rough-surfaced black and grey stone with specks of diamond-like material embedded in it. Part of the stone had shattered, but much of it was still intact.

The black crust on the stone, called fusion, is created when the item travels through the Earth's atmosphere. Galley said that while finding a meteorite is rare in itself, watching one strike a building is even less common.