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Meteorite crashes in South Texas causing startling boom, authorities say

The object is believed to have been about 2 feet in diameter and weighed about 1,000 pounds. Authorities have not located it yet.

A meteorite crashed in the area of Mission, Texas, Wednesday night causing a loud boom that startled residents, authorities said.

Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres and Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said their offices were inundated with calls Wednesday around just before 5:30 p.m. from people saying they heard a "large explosion" or "boom."

Some of the callers said their house shook, Torres said at a news conference Thursday. He said there were no reports of injuries or property damage in Mission, a city near the Mexican border.

NASA's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division said that NASA believes the object was about 2 feet in diameter and weighed about 1,000 pounds.

"The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls," a news release from the division said. "Radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event."

U.S. Rep. Mónica de la Cruz, R-Texas, said the meteorite was detected by Houston air traffic control. Torres said officials have not yet located exactly where it hit, and Guerra told residents not to touch the meteorite if they find it.

Anyone who comes across it is urged to contact authorities, Torres said.

Small asteroids enter the Earth's atmosphere above the United States once or twice a year on average and often result in meteorites crashing to the ground, the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division said. Meteorites travel at high speeds but slow as they move through the atmosphere, breaking into small fragments before hitting the ground. The objects cool quickly and usually pose no risk to the public, the division said.