Copyright - M.Bandli - Historic Meteorites


The Whitecourt impact crater was discovered in a remote and heavily wooded forest area in Alberta, Canada. It wasn't recognized as an impact crater until recently, when several associated iron meteorites were identified in and around it. Carbon testing of matter found under the ejecta layer puts the crater at approximately 1100 years old (late Holocene). The relatively small, 36 meter crater represents the youngest and only known crater where associated meteorites can be found in Canada. The meteorites produced by the impact are all shrapnel, though several pieces have been found that are atypical. Whitecourt is classified as an IIIAB Iron meteorite.

Though the crater itself and the immediate surrounding area are restricted, there is a small area outside of this protected area where some meteorites can be found. When we learned this news, we immediately began planning an expedition to the area.

Should read "Where Even the Meteorites Land"

Rolling in a brand new 350! So much fun.

We made it! Getting ready to set up our equipment.

My first iron! A 4 gram fragment.

Holes. Digging and refilling lots of holes. Jason hard at work.

Three Amigos: Mike Bandli, Rob Wesel, and Jason Phillips.

My first big find. Of course, big for Whitecourt means anything over 100 grams. The vast majority of irons are small.

Rob was soon to follow with this killer piece (shown below).

Roots - our biggest enemy besides the bears, moose, and mt. lions. Note the 3" caliper root in the background. I believe Rob spent about 15 minutes hacking away at this hole only to pull out a 5 grammer.

Look, but do not touch! Entering the protected area for some photos. The crater itself and immediate surrounding area are protected under Alberta's Historical Resources Act. Removing any material from this protected area will result in stiff penalties and possible jail-time.

Standing on the shoulder of the crater

Looking up from ground zero. The crater is shaped like a cereal bowl. Steep walls and a flat bottom. I can't even begin to explain how thrilling it is to stand at the bottom of this crater. To think what happened here a little over 1000 years ago. It must have been incredible. Unlike many other craters on earth, very few have seen this one with their own eyes.

This shot should give you some scale.

This is what it is all about. One of Rob's big finds.

Another successful expedition in the books! Data on each and every specimen was submitted to Dr. Chris Herd at the University of Alberta for distribution mapping. In the end, I believe Whitecourt will be one of the most documented meteorite producing craters in history. Few things beat finding  meteorites with good friends in such a beautiful country. Canada has turned in to one of my favorite places to hunt for space rocks. Hope to see you again soon, Canada...