Petrus Jenniskens said he found fragments of the object Wednesday in a parking lot of Henningsen Lotus Park, located in the small town of Lotus in El Dorado County near California's historic Sutter's Mill.
"This meteor itself must have been big," Jenniskens told the San Francisco Chronicle, "probably in the kiloton range. But now we need to find more fragments so we can begin to understand how it broke apart and what was inside it."
Scientists from the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., have been searching throughout the week, he said.
Four years ago Jenniskens trekked across Africa's Nubian Desert to recover fragments of a small asteroid and bring them to the United States.
He says the public can help in the search for fragments of the California meteor.
"Now we're hoping that anyone who has any videos or amateur photos of the explosion itself will contact us so we can begin to understand the meteor's trajectory before it exploded."