[meteorite-list] Car Hit By Meteorite

From: Michael Blood <mlblood_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:00 2004
Message-ID: <3A62BA74.541D_at_home.com>

Gee, Kelly,
        The way you kept going on, I was relieved when you stopped - I was sure
we were all going to have to get bullit proofing for our cars if you
went on for another couple of paragraphs!
Kelly Webb wrote:
> Hi, List,
>     Elton Jones forwarded to me (Thanks, Elton!) this recent Associated
> Press report about another automobile struck by a meteorite (in 1996)
> that apparently has been verified by a geologist, Paul Weiblen of the
> University of Minnesota.  Has anyone else heard anything about this
> incident or know anything about its validity?
>     As you'll see the report (below) certainly sounds like a reasonable
> description of a chondrite. Wonder what those "further tests" were?
>     The AP report also says the car owner "has been in contact with a
> dealer" about selling the meteorite. Is anybody on the List involved in
> the dickering and when can we expect pieces of the Clayton car-killer to
> pop up on eBay?! Well, alright, it wasn't really a "car-killer," only an
> eighty gram stone that broke the windshield of a Geo Metro and was
> itself broken in the process.
>     In my post to the List about calculating the frequency of meteorite
> infall from the data for targets that they strike, I wrote: "The data
> for U.S. automobiles is 250% of expectation, suggesting a flux of 59,825
> meteorites per year..."
>     That was based on four hits on U.S. automobiles per century. This
> incident, if verified, would raise that to five hits per century (two of
> them within four years!) or three times the number expected from an
> infall of roughly 24,000 meteorites per year, which implies about 72,000
> meteorites per year actually fall.
>     For the decade of the 1990's, taken separately, two hits is more
> than five times the chance expectation for the "official" rate of 24,000
> meteorites per year, which would translate to an equivalent rate of
> 125,000 meteorites per year! (To have a 50/50 chance of one U.S. car hit
> in the 1990's would require a fall rate of about 63,000 meteorites per
> year; two hits would require a rate double that.)
> Kelly Webb
> Here's the AP report:
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Rock That Damaged Car Was Meteorite
> (c) The Associated Press
>     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - It was no ordinary rock that broke Rick Wirth's
> windshield four years ago. It came from outer space. And it's older
> than the Earth.
>     Wirth got confirmation that his rock is a meteorite from a geology
> professor Monday.
>     In 35 years at the University of Minnesota, professor Paul Weiblen
> said he has seen thousands of rocks brought in by people who thought
> they had meteorites. All of them were mere Earth rocks.
>     But when last month he saw the rock that broke through the
> windshield of Wirth's Geo Metro and split in two, Weiblen figured his
> luck had changed.
>     ``I feel every sample someone thinks might be a meteorite is worth
> looking at,'' Weiblen said. ``But when I opened this package I knew.''
>     With a gray interior and ash-black exterior, the halves sported
> telltale signs that indicated they were meteorites. Further testing of
> the rocks, which together weigh 3 ounces and are 2 inches long,
> confirmed it.
>     For Wirth, the findings are vindication of his hunch about what
> happened to his windshield as it was parked in his driveway in Clayton,
> Wis., on Oct. 21, 1996.
>     ``When I took it to work and told the guys that I had a meteorite,
> they said, `Yeah, right,''' said Wirth, a welder. ``But I was pretty
> sure it was a meteorite.''
>     But he didn't follow up on his hunch until his son took the specimen
> to a rock show a few months ago. Someone who saw it said it was a
> meteorite, and Wirth got in touch with Weiblen.
>     Meteorite finds are rare. The Earth is bombarded with thousands of
> meteoroids each year but most burn up as they hit the atmosphere.
>     Scientists classify meteorites that reach the earth as ``falls'' if
> their descent was witnessed or - like Wirth's - can be documented
> through the damage they do. Only about 1,000 are known, Weiblen said.
> More common are the ``finds,'' meteorites that came to Earth at an
> unknown time.
>     Wirth has been in contact with a dealer and may sell the two pieces
> of his meteorite, which could fetch several thousand dollars.
>     But even if the meteorite is sold, Weiblen said the chance to study
> it has been priceless. Most meteorites, including Wirth's, were formed
> 4.56 billion years ago, giving scientists a chance to examine something
> older than the Earth.
>     ``It's a little messenger that came in the quiet of the night,''
> Weiblen said. ``It's telling a story of what happened around the time
> the sun evolved and even before the Earth was formed.''
> AP-NY-07-25-00 1300EDT
> Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP
> news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
> distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated
> Press.
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Michael Blood Meteorites for sale at:
Received on Mon 15 Jan 2001 03:54:03 AM PST

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