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An option of the 2012 RASC General Assembly (GA) in Edmonton was a post-conference field trip to the Whitecourt Crater guided by Dr. The crater is just south of the town of Whitecourt, a two hour bus ride away from the GA site in Edmonton.It was a “no brainer” that Gillian and I were going to be on that expedition.The smaller size of the Whitecourt hypervelocity impactor (approximately 1 metre diameter upon impact) is unusual as there are surviving meteorites elsewhere several times larger than this that did not cause an explosive (E = 1/2 mv²) type crater.These larger meteoroids for some reason completely lost their hypervelocities in the atmosphere and impacted at terminal velocity without causing the 1/2 mv² explosion. The largest Whitecourt meteorite presently discovered, a regmaglypted individual found in October 2010.Yes we did find enough small meteorites for us all to take one home, but it took hours and we did find a few nails and wire chunks as well! From the analysis of the widmanstatten patterns (Goldstein 1964) within the Whitecourt meteorites, it was determined that the core of this asteroid cooled at a rate of 50°C per million years.The Whitecourt Crater morphology, lack of a large buried meteoroid mass, meteorite morphology, meteorite dust, and Fe-Ni oxide spherules suggest the main mass of the meteoroid was completely disrupted on impact and that this was a hypervelocity event of 4 km/s (Kofman et al, 2010).
CENTEMETRE SCALEThe largest Whitecourt meteorite presently discovered (a second view), a regmaglypted individual found in October 2010. J., 2008, The Discovery of a Late Holocene Impact Crater Near Whitecourt Alberta: 71st Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 2008.
These meteorites have rounded edges with regmaglypts.
Regmaglypts are thumbprint-like depressions caused by the uneven flow of air during passage through the atmosphere and the consequent surface melting and ablation.
I had thought that the area would be “hunted out” by now, but I was pleasantly surprised that our group did find a few meteorites that afternoon, enough for each of us to take a souvenir home.
At the same time the exercise illustrated how hit/miss/difficult this task is.