[meteorite-list] Possible Meteorite Lands In Fluvanna

From: Mike Groetz <mpg444_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat Sep 23 20:38:22 2006
Message-ID: <20060924003821.89085.qmail_at_web32904.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

"It was probably burning about 18 to 20 hours"....

 There sure are some misinformed people.


Possible Meteorite Lands In Fluvanna


9/23/2006 - FLUVANNA ? Fluvanna resident Brenda Barden
doesn?t know for sure if whatever left a smoldering
hole in her backyard was a meteorite from outer space.

It seems to be a pretty good guess, though.

??We think that?s what it was, or what was left of a
falling star,?? said Ms. Barden, a resident of Old
Fluvanna Road.

Whatever it was left a hole roughly three feet deep
and the size of a manhole in her backyard a couple
weeks ago and set fire to a tree trunk that was buried
underground. She said she smelled it during the night
and thought a neighbor was having a bonfire nearby ?
but sure enough, there was a hole there the next day
that wasn?t there before.

??It left a big hole in our backyard,?? Ms. Barden
said. ??The fire department came and put it out. It
had burned all night I guess.??

Gary Nelson, amateur astronomer and president of the
Marshal Martz Memorial Astronomical Association, said
it might indeed have been a meteorite ? a piece of
rocky debris that penetrated the atmosphere and struck
the surface of the Earth.

??That?s not uncommon,?? Nelson said. ??Eventually, it
burns down to the size of a rock, but it hits with
such an impact that it can leave a hole in ground.??

Meteoroids ? which are any sort of small debris in the
solar system ? hit the Earth?s atmosphere all the time
at speeds of up to five miles or more a second, though
it is far less common for them to penetrate the
atmosphere and reach the Earth?s surface. It?s even
less likely for anyone to notice.

??What they do is they hit our atmosphere, and what
will happen is, if they don't come in at a certain
angle, it will skip like a stone going across water
and light up across the sky,?? Nelson said.

When the object leaves behind a fiery, glowing trail,
they are referred to as meteors or shooting stars, but
when one reaches the ground, they are referred to as
meteorites. They don?t have to be very large to
penetrate the atmosphere without completely burning
up, according to Nelson.

??If it hits the atmosphere at just the right angle,
it doesn?t have to be very large,?? he said.

Scientists estimate that 500 meteorites as small as a
pebble and as big as a soccer ball hit the ground
every year, sometimes causing damage to property. In
fact, the famous 1908 Tunguska Event involved a
meteorite or a small asteroid causing an explosion in
Siberia that was equivalent to roughly 10 megatons of
TNT and scorched an area 30 miles in diameter.

According to Nelson, if it really was a meteorite that
caused the smoldering hole in Ms. Barden?s backyard,
it was certainly a noteworthy and rare occurrence.

??It was probably burning about 18 to 20 hours. By
that time, you couldn?t really see anything.
Everything was burnt,?? Ms. Barden said. ??(The fire
department) had no explanation. It was just a hole.
It?s in the middle of nowhere.??

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Received on Sat 23 Sep 2006 08:38:21 PM PDT

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