Wisconsin meteorite shards on display at UW Geology Museum

April 19, 2010 By Jill Sakai

At least five pieces of the meteorite that fell in southwestern Wisconsin last week will be on display at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Geology Museum for public viewing Tuesday, April 20 through this weekend.

Each piece is approximately the size of an unshelled peanut and is partially covered with a thin “fusion crust” of dark material that forms when a meteor heats up as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere.

The museum will have special extended hours this week and weekend for seeing the meteorites and other exhibits: Tuesday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday noon-4 p.m.

“We want to share this piece of Wisconsin history with as many people as possible before we return the pieces to their owners,” says Brooke Norsted, assistant director of the museum.

The museum also has pieces of five of the 12 previous known meteorite falls in Wisconsin.

Sunday, April 25, is the Geology Museum’s annual open house, with special activities for the whole family including “make-a-quake” and geology bingo. At 2 p.m., geophysics professor Harold Tobin will talk about what causes earthquakes and some of the recent quakes around the world.

For maps and parking information, see the museum website.