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Possible meteorite shakes Texas neighborhoods

How do we defend Earth against meteors? 05:25

A mysterious object crashed into Texas this week, shaking neighborhoods near McAllen in the southern part of the state near its border with Mexico. Officials believe the object was a meteorite, but don't yet know where it landed.

The Alton Police Department, about 11 miles from McAllen, said they received several calls from residents who heard what sounded like an explosion after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The department said they heard other neighboring towns received similar reports. 

Photos and videos taken in the area showing what appeared to be a meteor streak through the sky have been shared on Twitter. Other home security videos show the Earth shake and a loud boom occur when the meteor apparently landed.

National Weather Service Brownsville said the tool they used to measure lighting, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, detected a signal at 5:23 p.m. – with no storms in the area. The images captured by the mapper appear to be a possible meteorite, the agency said, adding that the images could show the meteorite's entry into the atmosphere. 

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said federal agencies told him that Houston Air Traffic Control received reports from two aircraft about a meteorite spotted west of McAllen. 

"Where the exact point of impact is unknown," Guerra said. "No reports of any damage in that area has been received." 

Meteorites are meteors from space that enter the Earth's atmosphere and hit the ground, according to NASA. About once a year, an asteroid the size of a car enters Earth's atmosphere, but they burn up before reaching the surface, creating an impressive fireball that streaks through the sky, NASA says.

More likely, dust and sand-sized particles enter Earth from space. In fact, it is estimated that more than 100 tons do each day. About every 2,000 years a meteor the size of a football field hits Earth, causing significant damage.

Rocks from space smaller than 82 feet will likely burn up in the atmosphere and won't cause damage to Earth. 

CBS News has reached out to several law enforcement agencies in the area and is awaiting a response. 

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