Bonita Springs

standby for bonita springs photo
Found 1938, recognized 1956
26° 16′ N., 81° 41′ W. This ordinary chondrite weighing 41.8 kg (92 pounds) is only one of five meteorites found in Florida, all of them stony. Details published in the Naples Daily News for July 4, 1993 describe the events of the day in 1938 or 1939 when Reginald Lyles went digging in a local Indian sand mound that measured 300 feet in diameter and 6 feet high, located between Bonita Beach Road and the Imperial River about halfway between U.S. 41 and the beach. While searching for relics, he found the large rock situated amid several skeletons. It was not until 1956, after having spent many years lying outside under a mango tree, that the meteorite was brought to the attention of the Smithsonian and a sample sent in for authentication. The meteorite was subsequently purchased by the Meteorite Curator for the Smithsonian, Dr. Edward Henderson, for the sum of $200, and samples have been distributed through the years to many other institutions including those in New York, Chicago, Boston, Australia, and Russia.

Although the S(IV)-type asteroid 6 Hebe has been considered as a probable candidate for the parent body of the H-type ordinary chondrites, hydrocode models show inconsistencies exist between expected and observed CRE ages based on the scenario of direct injection into resonances. The steady delivery of H chondrite material from 6 Hebe to Earth also remains unexplained. Current studies by Rubin and Bottke (2009) have led to the conclusion that family-forming events resulting in large meteoroid reservoirs, which have homogenous compositions and locations near dynamical resonances such as the Jupiter 3:1 mean motion resonance, are the likely source of the most prevalent falls including H chondrites and HED achondrites (especially howardites). As a matter of fact, a number of asteroids having H-like mineralogies have been observed near the 3:1 (2.50 AU) and 5:2 (~2.82 AU) resonances (Burbine et al., 2015 and references therein). See further details on the Abbott page.

Due in part to the intense temperature and moisture conditions in the state of Florida, only four meteorites have been found there to date, in addition to two recovered falls. Besides Bonita Springs, approximately 1 kg of L4 fragments were brought up in a net offshore of Lake Okechobee, a 502 g, H4 stone was plowed up in Eustis, and a 10.9 kg H5 stone was found near Grayton Beach. In 2004, November 8 at 6:15 P.M., Orlando resident Donna Shuford heard a meteorite bounce off her car and hit the side of her house. Fragments composing an ~180 g eucrite were recovered. In 2016, January 24 at 10:27 A.M., numerous eyewitnesses observed a bright fireball over northern Florida near the Osceola National Forest. Utilizing radar images from several stations, a group of hunters successfully plotted the fall site and recovered 8 stones over many weeks having a combined weight of 1,099.6 g. The L6 chondrite fell within a forested wetlands region delimiting a strewn field of approximately 5 miles × 1 mile.

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