Meteorite impact near Viñales in Western Cuba

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On 1 February 2019 a meteorite exploded over Western Cuba near Viñales in bright daylight, as seen in GOES imagery.

Date & Time
1 February 2019 18:02–19:32 UTC
Volcanic Ash RGB

By HansPeter Rosesli (Swizterland)

Using GOES-16 Volcanic Ash RGB imagery it was possible to track the speed of the debris before it made impact in western Cuba. Figure 1 shows that the meteorite debris travelled in the atmosphere at a speed of ~45 km/h.

Figure 1
Figure 1: GOES-16 Volcanic Ash RGB, 1 Feb, 18:17 and 19:17 UTC

The impact site can be seen in the GOES-16 Volcanic Ash imagery, 1 Feb 18:17 UTC (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2: GOES-16 Volcanic Ash RGB, 1 Feb, 18:17 UTC

Meteorites can be composed of a number of materials and using the GOES-16 Volcanic Ash RGBs it is possible to see if this meteorite contained any sulphur-related materials. Sulphur shows up as bright green in the Volcanic Ash RGB and on this animation of the RGBs, in five minute intervals between 18:02 UTC and 19:32 UTC (Figure 3), there was no significant SO2 signal visible, so, most probably, the meteorite did not contain significant amounts of sulphur-rich material.

Figure 3: GOES-16 Volcanic Ash RGB animation, 1 Feb 18:02 UTC–19:32 UTC
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