Desaguadero, Peru 

(H4) chondrite

Fell September 15, 2007 at ~11:45 AM.

At ~11:45 am on September the 15th, 2007 a massive fireball entered the atmosphere over Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The fireball was larger and brighter than the sun, and rapidly moved over the lake on the Bolivian side, and along the border with Peru. It crossed over the town of Desaguadero which straddles both countries, and broke many windows as it passed overhead at what must have been supersonic speed! Within a couple of seconds, the meteorite impacted in the village of Carancas, Peru, less than 4 kilometers from Bolivia. When the meteorite impacted the soft, wet soil, it created a large crater measuring over 13.8 meters in diameter and 3 meters deep. Debris was ejected in all directions up to 150 meters away.

Witnesses describe a massive ball of fire which slammed into the ground, creating a mushroom cloud of smoke, steam and dust, and shook the ground like an earthquake. Many windows were broken in the village of Carancas as well. People who arrived at the fall site within minutes of the impact report that the crater rapidly filled with water, which was boiling, and erupting nauseous steam that smelled overwhelmingly of sulfur. Many people reportedly were sickened by the gasses, and media reports of hundreds sickened were vastly exaggerated. The fear created by such a traumatic even likely caused mass hysteria and the fear of the object almost certainly played a part in the reports of illnesses.

This meteorite fall will be one of the most studied and important meteorite falls in the last few decades, and I am distributing pieces to laboratories all over the world.

Read about this on MSNBC.   CLICK HERE for MSNBC article.

                                      Read the follow-up MSNBC article posted a few days later. CLICK HERE for second MSNBC article.

Reconstructed trajectory of Carancas meteorite plotted on Google
 Earth view from original field work by L. E. Jackson, Jr., Geological  Survey of Canada.
Used with permission of Mr. Jackson
In this map, you can see that the meteorite entered the atmosphere over Lake Titicaca in Bolivia heading from the northeast to the southwest. The meteorite crossed over the border of Peru and impacted in the village of Carancas in Peru. The meteorite crater is at an elevation of over 3,800 meters! I would like to thank Lionel Jackson for the work in creating this map to illustrate the Carancas meteorite fall.
This is a photo of the Carancas meteorite smoke trail, taken by a 16 year old boy who witnessed the fall, then ran and got hit disposable camera to take some photos. I have darkened the color in this print to better show the corkscrew shape of the smoke trail. This photo was taken some 5-7 minutes after the fall, so it is likely that upper-level winds had already affected the path of the smoke-trail. The negatives of the photo were already highly damaged by poor handling and dust, so it is not the best photo, but still very important, as I think there are less than 10 photos of meteorite smoke-trails in existence.
This photo shows myself at the Carancas meteorite crater, it is much larger than it looks. It is more than 13.8 meters across!
The crater immediately filled with water as it excavated a hole well below the level of the water table.

Adventure continues on next page.

Click here to continue to the next Carancas page, with more photos and my personal expedition story.

All photos are property of Michael Farmer and MAY NOT be used or copied or used without prior permission with exception of the Google Earth meteorite trajectory map on page one. This belongs to Lionel Jackson, Geological Survey of Canada.