The mystery surrounding what Spruce Grove residents believe was a meteorite that hit an area pond last week began to unravel yesterday.

An eyewitness came forward to say he had seen a fireball shoot down from the sky.

"I first thought it was a shooting star, but it wasn't burning out," said Eric Whyte, who was driving southbound on Highway 2 between St. Albert and Morinville around 10 p.m. Thursday.

"It was a big ball of fire, bright orangey in colour, and there was a big tail behind it," he recalled.

Astronomer Martin Beech said the sighting of a fireball is crucial in determining whether it was a meteorite.

But he couldn't say for sure what dropped into the frozen pond at The Links golf course in Spruce Grove, just west of Edmonton.

Derrick Zienowicz was the first to see the strange octopus-shaped hole in the frozen pond on Saturday morning.

He immediately told his neighbours Tina Danyluk and James Shankowski, whose house is closest to the strange marks.

They initially believed the strange marks were made late Friday night or early Saturday.

But both Shankowski and Zienowicz said it is possible the marks had been there since Thursday night because none of them looked out their back windows Friday.

Also, Zienowicz said he felt his house shake at about 10 p.m. Thursday while he was standing in the kitchen.

"It's kinda weird. For about 10 seconds, the house shook. I said, 'What the heck was that?' "

He now suspects it was associated with the fireball and the strange marks.

A bright burning ball with an associated sonic boom normally indicates a falling meteor, said Beech, who teaches astronomy at Campion College at the University of Regina.

But Whyte said none of his family believed he saw a falling meteor.

"They were all saying it's a shooting star and they thought I was crazy. I read the article in the Sun (yesterday about the pond) and then it made perfect sense."