Sonny Clary Collection



  Brix and I hunting for meteorites from the November 18, 2009 Fireball . The fireball turned     “night  into day ” and produced a massive shock wave that residents of Utah could only  describe as sounding and feeling like a “nuclear bomb detonation!”


                                                Photograph Credit Geoff Notkin  of  “ Meteorite Men”

                       “ November 18,2009 Fireball investigation “

These two photos were taken from surveillance systems located in Salt Lake  City, Utah at 12.07 AM.

                      Granite Peak  →

Location of 1st cloud burst →



        Dugway Proving Grounds

                      off limits!

Debris field SW


     Callao ↗    


While watching the national news, a report on a fireball that exploded over the Southwest flashed onto the screen.

“ At exactly 12:07 AM people from all over the Western United States watched as the bolide meteorite crashed into the earth’s atmosphere. So bright it caused light sensor street lamps to shut off. A Wyoming resident told KSL News Radio for a moment he suspected a nuclear

strike.”   ( KSL TV )

With all the news reports of the sonic boom and explosion.  I quickly made my plans to go. I made two phone calls to find out if this event could possibly be a military test or a true bolide. Both opinions indicated highest probability that it was a meteor that entered the earth’s atmosphere. As I was planning my trip, I realized that I had no true location of the bolide except South East of Salt Lake City. Many reports even placed the explosion over Eastern Nevada. I would need to email the experts that work with doppler imaging radar and surveillance systems to track the movement of the meteor, which would help narrow my search.  Rob Matson and Mark Fries were gathering information with possible areas to investigate.

While I was driving towards the Nevada / Utah border my laptop was busy downloading maps of the possible strewnfield. Although I had packed my camping gear, my map was showing a motel at Borders.  Borders is a motel with restaurant and gas station on the Nevada / Utah border, a good central location from which to start my search. This location would place me within 50 miles from the second cloud burst. Reports also placed a cloud burst and explosion over the Dugway Proving Grounds at Granite Peak. Granite Peak is the location of a military biological warfare facility built in 1943. In 1968 6,000 sheep were killed on ranches near the base from a chemical weapons test.. “Dugway sheep incident”.

After driving 7 hours I could see the lights off in the distance from Borders Inn.  As I walked into the store to check in, I could hear the roar from the patrons in the bar having a good time. After checking in, I inquired if anyone had witnessed the fireball. The clerk said her waitress in the bar was driving home that night and witnessed the fireball. Wow, I could not wait to talk to the waitress and hear what she has to say.

As I walked into the bar to locate the my potential witness, I could see the local patrons sitting around the bar and having a drink, some seemed to have had more than one. The waitress was behind

the bar.  When she walked in my direction, I waved at her to get her attention. As she walked over, I asked if she witnessed the November 18th fireball. The waitress replied that she had seen it.  She explained that as she was driving home on HWY 6, the fireball appeared out of the North East sky. The fireball looked like it was heading towards the South West in her direction, it flew over the top of her and exploded over the mountain range. This would place the debris field West of Callao, Utah.

While I was talking and getting information on the fireball the locals began to question me while they were sitting at the bar. I could hear one of the guys saying to his buddy he is looking for the meteor. Within seconds they were all asking questions and everyone was giving me their opinions on what they thought about the meteor. One guy even wanted to fight!  Another patron said he had heard the explosion and it was followed by a whistling sound over his house. I thought this might be a good lead and I spent the next 20 minutes listening to what can only be his variation of English, and trying to understand the location of his property. While I was walking out of the bar I could see the one guy still looking in my direction like he wanted to fight.  He could barely stand.

As I was unloading my gear into the motel room I noticed the guy that heard the explosion over his house. He was at the gas station part of my lodging facility. He was putting fuel into his SUV, so I quickly walked over to try and reverify the directions to his house. “Drive down over the hill turn left at the fence 30 or 40 minutes from here” 

Great , I wonder how I will enter this address into my GPS! As his tail lights disappeared into the darkness, I thought to myself, this guy should not be driving. 

I was off to an early start, only another 50 miles or so to reach the location of the second cloud burst and the area I wanted to hunt.  I noticed a vehicle ahead producing a dust cloud about a 1/2 mile ahead of me.  I decided to slow down to avoid driving in the dust cloud. As I crested a small hill I quickly noticed a vehicle that had overturned and was sitting upright on the road