A mysterious object crashed in Texas this week, shaking neighborhoods near McAllen, in the southern part of the state near the border with Mexico. Authorities believe the object was a meteorite, but they still don’t know where it fell.
The Alton Police Department, about 11 miles from McAllen, said it had received several calls from residents who heard what sounded like an explosion after 5pm on Wednesday. The department said it heard other neighboring cities received similar reports.
Photos and videos taken in the area showing what appeared to be a meteor trail in the sky were shared on Twitter. Other home security videos show the earth shaking and a loud bang occur as the meteor apparently landed.
Brownsville’s National Weather Service said the tool they used to measure the lighting, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, detected a signal at 5:23 p.m. – no thunderstorms in the area. The images captured by the mapper appear to be a possible meteorite, the agency said, adding that the images could show the meteorite entering the atmosphere.
Hidalgo County Sheriff, Eddie Guerra he said federal agencies told him that Houston Air Traffic Control received reports from two aircraft about a meteorite sighted west of McAllen.
“Where the exact point of impact is unknown,” Guerra said. “No reports of any damage in that area have been received.”
Meteorites are meteors from space that enter Earth’s atmosphere and hit the ground, according to NASA. About once a year, a car-sized asteroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, but they burn up before reaching the surface, creating a stunning fireball that streaks across the sky, NASA says.
More likely, dust and sand-sized particles enter Earth from space. In fact, it is estimated that over 100 tonnes do so every day. Every 2,000 years, a meteor the size of a football field hits Earth, causing significant damage.
Space rocks smaller than 82 feet are likely to burn up in the atmosphere and do no harm to Earth.
CBS News has reached out to several law enforcement agencies in the area and is awaiting a response.