[meteorite-list] Possible Meteorite Fall in Sri Lanka

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 09:18:50 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <200706261618.JAA24522_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Catch a falling star
By Ayesha Inoon
The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
June 17, 2007

It was a quiet Sunday night in Kovinna, Andiambalama. At 9.05 p.m.,
24-year-old H.T. Nadeeshani was having a bath at the well in her garden
when she noticed something unusual in the western sky. A bright light,
almost as large as the full moon, appeared to be moving towards her in a
wide arc. Alarmed by thoughts of terrorist air attacks, she called out
to her neighbour, Mrs. Renuka Jayakody. Together they watched fearfully
as the glowing object drew closer, landed on the Jayakodys' roof and
vanished completely. A few minutes later the air vibrated with a loud

The next day they discovered that parts of the asbestos sheets on the
roof were charred and cracked. A few pieces of rock and sand were
scattered around the damaged area.

Similar incidents were reported around the country that night. Several
people in areas such as Puttalam, Maho and Bingiriya also noted the
appearance of the bright light in the sky as well as the loud explosion.
"We thought it was another air attack or the beams from the airport,"
says K. Sarath, a trishaw driver in Kimbulapitiya who watched a flaming
object land on a house and heard the booming sounds soon afterwards.

In Campbell Place, Dehiwala, the roofs of two buildings were damaged,
and a loud noise was heard. "24 asbestos sheets were broken," says M.D.
Sampath who works in one of the buildings, adding that there was no sign
of what caused the damage.

The strange objects that lit the night skies on June 10 have now been
confirmed as meteors. "This is the first time that meteors of such
magnitude have fallen in Sri Lanka," says Dr. Chandana Jayaratne, Senior
Consultant at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies,
who is currently gathering data and conducting studies on the incident.
The shockwaves and vibrations have been heard throughout the country,
from Galle to Puttalam.

Remains of the meteoroid.

He believes that two large meteoroids entered the atmosphere, the larger
one splitting into two and the smaller one into about 25 fragments. The
loud explosions, he says, were some of the particles exploding, probably
about 50 to 100 km above the ground.

The peculiarity of this incident is that there was very little trace of
the meteoroids even where extensive damage had occurred such as in
Dehiwala. The meteoroid was travelling at such high momentum that all
the particles must have dissolved or vaporised by the heat on impact, he

Residents of Andiambalama say that they had noticed unusual movement of
the stars for about two weeks continually prior to the falling of the
meteor. "We saw many shooting stars, the children started gathering at
about 8 p.m. every night just to watch this," says Prasanna Jayakody,
adding that they even reported it to the emergency police hotline. Dr.
Jayaratne however says that this has nothing to do with the falling of
the meteor.
Received on Tue 26 Jun 2007 12:18:50 PM PDT

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