Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Couple donates meteorite to PIE

February 28, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Meteorite hunters Tim and Patricia Heitz of Bokeelia donated a 5,800 year old meteorite to Pine Island Elementary School Thursday morning. The space rock will be on display in the school's media center.

The meteorite was part of the Campo del Cielo meteorites that fell 5,800 years ago in Argentina and discovered by the Spanish in 1576. The area lies about 620 miles north of Buenos Aires near the province of Chaco.

"This is a huge crater field," Tim Heitz said. "About 11 or 12 miles long and has 26 individual craters that contain iron meteorites like the one we donated to Pine Island Elementary. We can date this by carbon dating the trees that were destroyed at the time of the impact."

Article Photos

PIE Principal Steve Hook with Tim Heitz.


A meteorite is a piece of space debris that passes through Earth's atmosphere and impacts with the Earth's surface. Meteors can fall anywhere on the planet and large ones can create craters like the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona, The Odessa Meteor Crater in Texas and the Wolfe Creek Crater in Australia.

"Meteorites like the one my wife and I are donating are created when a planet is impacted very hard, launching pieces of the planet into space," Heitz said. "If those pieces come close enough to the Earth's gravitation, it will pull them into our atmosphere where they fall to Earth for meteorite hunters to find."

Heitz first became interested in meteorite hunting in 1996 when he saw a news broadcast on television. The broadcast was about a Mars meteorite that scientists believed had evidence of microscopic bacteria life on Mars.

"That's the first thing that peaked my interest and then there was something on the Discovery Channel about buying and selling meteorites - that's where it all started," Heitz said. "When I learned that people could buy and sell them, I was hooked."

Since that time Heitz has donated meteorites to the St. Louis Science Center, the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers and now Pine Island Elementary School.

"I believe this is the only school with a meteorite," Heitz said. "Who knows, maybe it will inspire some of these kids."

"We are very fortunate and privileged that Mr. Heitz is willing to share his meteorite with the school," PIE Principal Steve Hook said. "It is a great thing for our children to get to experience this special display and makes our media center even more exciting to visit. We are extremely thankful to him. We want our students to reach for the stars - now we bring outer space closer to them."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web