NASA confirms loud boom in Rio Grande Valley was 1,000-pound meteor; several meteorites found

American Meteor Society posted a photo of one meteorite

FILE PHOTO: A shower of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in 2009 in this NASA time-lapse image. (NASA/JPL)

NASA has confirmed that a flash of light and loud boom reported in the skies near McAllen on Feb. 15 was a meteor.

In a press release, the administration said that based on preliminary information from several sources, experts believe the meteor measured about two feet in diameter and weighed about 1,000 pounds.

It was traveling at about 27,000 miles per hour and had an energy of 8 tons of TNT, NASA said.

It broke into fragments at an altitude of 21 miles.

“Radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event,” NASA said.

The American Meteor Society posted a photo of a meteorite in Texas saying it was the third meteorite found within three days. The others were discovered in France and Italy.

NASA urges anyone who believes they have found a fragment of a meteorite to contact the Smithsonian.

According to NASA, small asteroids enter the atmosphere above the continental United States about once or twice a year and send meteorites to the ground.

“The meteor seen in the skies above McAllen is a reminder of the need for NASA and other organizations to increase our understanding and protection of Earth, to combine scientific and engineering expertise to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary research for furthering our understanding of the solar system, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk,” NASA said in a press release.

A Google Earth map shows the strewn field area for meteorites after a meteoroid entered the Earth's atmosphere near McAllen on Feb. 15, 2023 (NASA/Google Earth)

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.