Whitecourt crater is a meteorite impact crater in central Alberta, Canada. It is located approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) southeast of the Town of Whitecourt within Woodlands County. The crater was found by Sonny Stevens, a resident of Whitecourt, on July 3, 2007. Stevens was hunting in the area, and later found the first fragments of the meteorite while metal detecting on the crater rim. The meteoritic nature of the fragments, and thus the authenticity of the crater, was confirmed by Dr. Chris Herd, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta. The area has been placed within a 200-metre by 200-metre protected zone, within which collecting is prohibited and subject to a $50,000 fine or one year in jail. However, the vast majority of fragments have been found on Crown land beyond the protected area.
The crater is approximately 36 m (118 ft) in diameter and 9 m (30 ft) deep. Its age is estimated to be between 1,080 and 1,130 years since the buried fragments of the impacting meteorite are all found above a layer of carbon from a forest fire dating around 1,100 years ago.
More than 3,000 pieces of the impacting meteorite have been found (as of 2012). The pieces are shrapnel, mostly between a few grams and 500 grams in mass, with sharp edges and mechanically deformed from the impact, but showing no sign of impact melt. About one-half dozen individual meteorites have also been found with the largest weighting 31 kilograms. The meteorite fragments are irons of type IIIAB. Most fragments were ejected eastward from the crater.
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