[meteorite-list] NPA 03-18-1880 Estherville Meteorite Article

From: MARK BOSTICK <thebigcollector_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri Oct 1 13:35:25 2004
Message-ID: <BAY4-F18zHx63RNpggk0000642b_at_hotmail.com>

Paper: Indiana Democrat
City: Indiana, Pennsylvania
Date: March 18, 1880
Page: 4

Fall of a Meteor

     At the last meeting of the astronomical department of the State
historical society, held in St. Paul, an exceedingly interesting and
valuable paper on meteorites was read by Prof. E. J. Thompson, of the State
University. The following extract from this paper relating as to a
meteorite that fell across the southern line of Minnesota, near the town of
Jackson, will be found of interest:
     May 10, 1879, was a bright, clear, cloudless day. At five o'clock in
the afternoon, in full sunshine, this meteorite passed through the air,
exploded and fell in the town of Erterville, Emmet county, Iowa, about ten
or twelve miles below the southern boundary of Jackson county, Minn. The
path it followed marked a course from northwest to southeast, and was seen
for a distance of several hundred miles. Mr. W. L. Wilkins, of Austin, told
me that as he was traveling in the northwest part of Mower county, May 10,
about 5 P.M., he heard an unusual crackling and hissing noise about him, and
upon looking up saw to the west of him the meteor passing. This was more
than 100 miles from where it fell. Mr. Pickard who resides in the northwest
part of Blue Earth county, saw it pass as it seemed far to the northwest of
him; and described it as a most startling and wonderful phenomenon - a huge
ball of fire, followed closely by a cloud of fire. Reports from localities
still further northwest, some from Dakota, confirms the opinion that its
direction was as above stated. Its appearance in the heavens was that of a
huge globe of fire attended by a fiery cloud. The inhabitants residing
within the area of a circle whose diameter is six miles, for a few minutes
were greatly alarmed; not more at the simple flying ball of fire which
seemed so near to them, than at the terrific explosions immediately above
them; those who did not see it thought an earthquake had occurred and were
in great terror. All agree with its explosion and force. The noise
accompanying its flight is described as rumbling, cracking, crashing,
similar to that produced by a train of cars crossing a long bridge; then
came a very loud report, immediately followed by two distinct reports in
quick succession though not so explosion or loud as the first. It struck
the ground in separate masses, together with smaller fragments scattered
over an area of three or four miles. There were two large pieces which fell
about two miles apart, in a direct northwest line, both at an angle of
eighty degrees. The impression of those who saw the meteor in the air just
at the time of explosion was that still another large mass fell no far
distant. This has been confirmed by the recent finding of a piece weighing
150 pounds by a trapper named Robert Pietz.
     The largest mass, weighing 470 pounds, now at Keokuk, Iowa, penetrated
a hard blue clay soil, covered with water, to the depth of twelve feet. The
mass weighing 170 pounds, now at the State University, fell on a dry grassy
knoll, and was buried to the depth of five and a half feet below the
surface. A few rods from the largest mass would found a fragment weighing
thirty pounds, and a schoolboy picked up a specimen weighing three pounds a
little distance away from the largest. Three resembled the great body of
the meteorite in all respects. - St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer.


Mark Note: Newspaper article on the Estherville meteorite fall. Misspelled
in article Erterville.
Received on Fri 01 Oct 2004 01:32:58 PM PDT

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