[meteorite-list] Meteorites were found in area (Historical report- Bellville, Ill.)

From: Mike Groetz <mpg444_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2009 17:25:49 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <402130.71468.qm_at_web33002.mail.mud.yahoo.com>


Meteorites were found in area

Q. This may stretch your research powers a little, but I remember my grandfather telling me of a rather large meteor that struck the metro-east maybe 100 years ago. Of course, my friends think the only thing that's falling is my ability to remember. Can you rescue me?

A. Tilden's Harry Hirte was one farmer who nearly was sorry to be out standing in his field, as the old joke goes.

It was about 1 p.m. on July 13, 1927, when Hirte was working on his farm. Suddenly he heard "three distinct explosions followed by a rumbling and then a screetching noise," according to an account in the July 21 Belleville Daily Advocate.


A moment later, he saw a cloud of dust rise from a clover field on the nearby farm of Henry Dunn, which was just a quarter of a mile north of Tilden proper. When he went to investigate, he found a whopping 47-pound meteorite that had embedded itself 2 feet into the dirt.


Hirte wasn't the only person to make an out-of-this-world discovery that day. Nearby, Allen Raney, a coal miner, reported finding a 9-pound chunk that had buried itself a foot in the ground. Like Hirte, Raney reported his surprise in finding the rock cool to the touch when he quickly dug it up.


Soon Hirte's unusual specimen was drawing hundreds of spectators when it was displayed in Sparta and Tilden -- and in the offices of the Daily Advocate.


Since then, however, two other area residents have reported even closer encounters with the sky falling. On Sept. 28, 1938, a meteorite smashed through the roof of Edward McCain's garage in Benld, embedding itself in the seat of his 1937 Pontiac Coupe.


A neighbor, Mrs. Carl Crum, was reportedly standing about 50 feet from the crash site. If you're ever in Chicago, check out the nearly 3-pound meteorite and portions of the damaged car at the Field Museum of National History.


But here's the best can-you-top-this story of all: On Dec. 10, 1950, John Houser was driving home from work when two chunks of rock -- each about 2 1/2 inches wide -- slammed through the cloth top of his convertible as he drove down the 5600 block of West Florissant in St. Louis.


"I thought at first I'd had a blowout, but traffic was heavy and I wasn't able to stop for about a block," the 28-year-old Maplewood Park, Mo., man told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch later. "Then I found the hole in the top of the car and two broken fragments on the floor in back. I didn't think much about it until I read later of the meteor exploding over the city (witnessed by a TWA pilot and passengers)."


No need to start watching the skies while you're outside, though. While estimates run the gamut, astronomer and asteroid watcher Alan Harris recently put the odds at 1 in 700,000 of being killed by one during your lifetime.


Received on Sun 01 Mar 2009 08:25:49 PM PST

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