Not everything that falls from the sky is a meteorite

The Menisa (Canada) meteorite (L6 chondrite)

Meteoritical Bulletin: “Mr. Doug Olson heard a loud bang on the roof of his house, in the Menisa neighborhood of Edmonton, one afternoon in October 2022 while in an upstairs room. On the same day he went onto the roof looking for damage searching for the source of the noise, but found nothing at the time. On May 20, 2023 he was cleaning debris from the eaves and found a single, 33.3 g mass in the eavestrough. The specimen was brought to UAb [University of Alberta] on May 31, 2023 where it was identified as a meteorite.”

Two views of the meteorite now named Menisa. Mr. Olson sent me these two photos of the stone the day he found it. This is what a freshly fallen meteorite looks like. Note that it is 80% covered with fusion crust. The fusion crust is smooth and glassy. There are two regmaglypts just to the right of the exposed interior. The interior is lighter colored than the exterior fusion crust. In the 7 months between the day he heard it hit the roof and the day he found it some of the iron-nickel metal has rusted leaving a rusty stain. The meteorite only weighs about an ounce; this is a typical size for a stony meteorite.

However, most rocks that fall from the sky are not meteorites

I am fascinated by the numerous stories that I have been sent about rocks someone found that “weren’t there yesterday.” (Sorry, this is a long page because I have received LOTS of these stories.) Common alternative stories are “We heard a thud on the roof at night and found this rock the next morning” and “I saw a fireball and found this stone where I saw it land.” All the quotations below were sent to me by real people. Some of them describe real meteors and some of the rocks may be real meteorites. Meteorites have hit roofs, after all. (See accounts for Benld, Bloomington, and Park Forest, for example.) None of the rocks associated with the stories below that I have had the chance to examine myself have been meteorites, however. I do not know how these various rocks and metal pieces came to be where they were found, but I am rather certain that most did not come from outer space. I also include some newspaper and other media articles about suspected meteorites that turned out to be meteorwrongs.

I have noticed 3 things about such rocks:

  • They never seem to have a meteorite fusion crust.
  • Many are just the right size for throwing.
  • For reasons that I do not understand, many appear to be slags.

The photos above were sent to me with the following story: “…the other day a friend of mine heard a big Bang on his roof it fell off and it was smoking hot he said he cooled it off with the hose. It was found in Vacaville Calif. yesterday is when it happens this is what it looks like? Can you give me any type of info just by the picture?” Yes, I can.

(1)The surface on the left does not look like a meteorite fusion crust to me.

(2) The interior on the right does not look like the inside of an ordinary chondrite, the most common kind of meteorite.
(3) The inquiry does not say whether or not the rock attracts a magnet, but I do not see any obvious metal.
(4) Meteorites do not land “smoking hot.” More about that below.


“i found a strange rock in front of my house that just seemed to have appeared overnight.”

“We heard a loud pop like gunshots. The next day my 2-year old grandson was out in the back yard and found the “rock”. It was stuck in the ground. We had to pull it out.”

“My husband heard a loud bang or thug like something hitting the ground in the garden. It was night and VERY dark so we looked, got spooked and went inside. About a week or so later he was in the garden and found this odd rock.”

“The only reason I’m reaching out, is because it popped out of the air about 2 1/2 feet above the ground right in front of my eyes!!..thats crazy!!! And in the middle of the parking lot!”

“…so at around 3 o’clock to about 4 o’clock am (early Sunday) right infront of me a rock with a green flame to it actually fell right in front of me.. I actually have what came flying through the sky because it landed right infront of me..”

“Today morning (5th December, 2020), at about 5 am, my brother was out for morning walk as usual. Suddenly, with a Vrroomm sound, something fell on the ground just a few metres away from him. The soil was thrown away. He looked at the place and found it smashed as if hit by something and had gone inside the ground. He dug the area and found a small pebble sized stone of reddish brown colour.”
This is the reddish-brown stone. Although it has a crust, I think that it is not a meteorite fusion crust because it does not look glassy as it would on a freshly fallen meteorite, it is too thick, and a meteorite fusion crust would not flake off like this on a fresh fall. Most importantly, however, no meteorite would have a reddish interior like this. 

“About 27 or 28 years ago, while fixing a fence, I came across a fence post that was split in half, partially burnt, with a small one ounce rock imbedded near the base.”

“I found this rock at a site that I thought at first may have been a lightning strike, it was impacted into the earth with only about a 1/3 of it showing and the area around it was charred and still smoldering.”

“In the middle of April, I was out in my yard and found this rock. Which of course wasn’t there before.”

“The person who gave me the rock over 25 years ago indicated that he heard it hit the ground and picked it up.”

“Found in my front yard this morning, definitely not there yesterday ( i mowed).”

“I was outside today and I found this object in my yard. 15ft away from my house. So I picked the object up, and there was a hole the object created.”

“My dad was awoken one night by a loud crash of something hitting his wood pile.”

“It was night time when I heard a very distinct sound, when I went outside I expected to see something but found nothing. The next day I searched the area that I believed would have contained whatever hit my house. When I looked at the shingle from the mansard style roof I saw a mark and dent about the size of a Grapefruit. I searched the area in and around the bushes and sitting a top this evergreen bush was a rock?? My property has no visible rocks of this nature as the perimeter of my house is mulched with no rocks. Just grass and bushes. When I picked the rock up I knew right away that this hit my home as it landed in an area very close to where it hit the roof. I must have been cushioned by the bush it landed on after it projected from the roof. I searched every possible area around my home to make sure I wasn’t imaging this all. Nothing like this rock exists on my property.”

“I discovered a meteorite embedded in my driveway a few days ago.”

Hot rocks

Despite these many stories to the contrary, meteorites do not land “hot.” Explanation here. I suspect that some of these stories actually involve lightning strikes.

“When I was a young girl in about 1947, my father and I were out at night in a field by our home in Loves Park, Illinois identifying some of the constellations for a school project. Suddenly, there was a streak of light, followed by a thud in a field about 300 ft from where we were standing. We waited until the early morning hours to go out and retrieve it, realizing it would be extremely hot. I remember thinking the heavy metal was iron, not realizing meteorites made of iron are blackened. I brought it to school, so my classmates could see it.”

“My wife and I awoke around 12:14 Friday morning to an extremely bright flashing light outside of our window. We thought they were EMS lights at first. I looked out of our window and saw a small object in the middle of our paved road … It was flashing a white flame and smoking, I assumed someone had thrown some sort of fireworks out of a car. Upon closer inspection later Friday morning, I found a small rock on the road where I saw the light. The rock is very dense, has a black “crust” like it has been burnt, and is slightly magnetic. Do you think this could be a meteorite?”

“My grandfather saw it fall from the sky in the early 1920s. It caught the woods on fire. He and his brother went the next day and recovered it. It was buried in the ground about 6 feet and was too hot to touch. It weighs approx. 150 lbs.”

“I believe that my grandmother is in possession of a small meteorite. It fell to earth about 30 years ago, and she saw it hit the ground (literally 50 feet away from her). It was still glowing hot as she approached it. After letting it cool down, she took it home and put it on a shelf, were it has remained pretty much untouched for 30 years.”

“we are sure that we have seen it falling from the sky and looks like fire and then make a big hole. we tried to touch it but was very hot that was at 3 in the morning. please advise”

“I found a rock meteor looking several years ago, it was raining that night, we heard a loud boom and we ran outside this rock hit our house created a small hole outside the wall on our house. I touch this rock it was hot so i kept it for years.”

“My step-father told me that years ago (45 yrs now) a preacher that he knew gave it to him when he was 9 or 10. The man told him that he watched it fall from the sky and that it was so hot he had to wait to touch it.”

“My dad said they watched this meteor come within the earth’s atmosphere and exploded. The sound off of it was louder than a sonic boom. This thing busted apart into small pieces and began falling from the sky. Much of it rained down throughout the entire Silver Valley area and had every field on fire. When they saw it raining down, they too ducked into the storm cellar. They could hear pieces of it hitting the ground and the steel cellar door like hail. My dad thought the world was coming to an end!! A piece of this stuff went right through the roof of my dads’ uncle’s front porch. After they quit hearing the thuds on the ground, they all climbed out of the cellar to see the fields on fire, the front porch on fire, and the barn on fire. They all grabbed buckets and started dipping water from the well to put the front porch out, but lost the barn. Dad went out the next day and found this rock laying everywhere, still too hot to touch.”

“i believe this is a meteor(rite) i found in the afternoon on my deck on 04/24/07. i photographed it immediately….i’d like to research if it is a true meteor…. that actually burned into my deck im sending a few of my pics for u to help”

“This rock has been passed down in my husband’s family since between 1944-1948. It flew out of the sky and hit a wheat field that then caught on fire. The fire was put out and later the rock discovered at the sight where the rock was located …” “Several nights ago my friend experienced several booms and the ground shaking. He felt impacts around his trailer that causes the the roof to push in and the walls of his trailer to buckle. When he went out side he said he found smoking holes in the ground that were still sizzling from the heat.”

“This rock was in an area of sparse grass and I would have seen it while mowing the lawn or actually just walking across the yard… I think it “arrived” sometime over the last week or so…”

“It was night time when I heard a very distinct sound, when I went outside I expected to see something but found nothing… When I picked the rock up I knew right away that this hit my home as it landed in an area very close to where it hit the roof.”

“A rock crashed through our basketball hoop a steep angle from above and burst upon impact.”

Meteor showers

People have been watching meteor showers, such as the Perseids in early August, for thousands of years. “Perseid meteoroids (which is what they’re called while in space) are fast. They enter Earth’s atmosphere (and are then called meteors) at roughly 133,200 mph (60 kilometers per second) relative to the planet. Most are the size of sand grains; a few are as big as peas or marbles. Almost none hit the ground, but if one does, it’s called a meteorite.” For all meteor showers, the meteors you see are made almost exclusively by sand- to pea-sized objects that ablate away in the atmosphere and never hit the ground. If you see a meteor during a meteor shower, you are not going to find a meteorite.

“During the meteorite shower in early August, I believe what seems to be a meteorite fell in the yard of my daughter’s home. It apparently was smoldering all night and the odor from the heated rock was a stench. It hit the surface of the ground and the plants that were beneath it, the roots were scorched and destroyed. It took several buckets of water to stop the smoke and cool it off.”

“A meteor struck my driveway last Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and I have the fragments, what is the probability that it’s from the comet Swift-Tuttle associated with the Perseid Meteor Shower?”

“I was up watching the shower, then as I was going to bed I heard a loud whoosh, and a thud as something hit the earth. There were no neighbourhood boys who could have thrown objects. The next morning I went into the garden to see what fell there, and saw nothing, but a hole in the soft soil about eight inches deep. This rock was at the bottom of the hole.”

“It landed about 1 am on August 13 2007! My daughters … and I were hoping to see some meteors and were hoping to see something spectacular! We were outside watching the meteor shower and saw one come straight over us and it exploded right over our heads! It seemed very close! Then we saw a spiraling object smoking toward us in a corkscrew pattern and I ducked!! I felt silly cause what could I do to protect myself if it were to hit me? Lol… We could also smell a bunt metallic smell shortly after the object fell!! Anyway we found the object today stuck into the dirt. It landed about 4 feet from where [my daughter] was standing and about 8 feet from where I was standing! The object is about egg size, black and rocklike. I have pictures of the hole and have the stone with the dirt embedded on one side.”

“When the Hale Bopp Comet passed by us a few years ago I collected several quarter sized fragments that made their way to earth. These fragments were still smoking when I discovered them. I was driving past my grandparent’s home when I noticed several small fires. These fires were started in the pine straw around the shrubs. In the pine straw is where I found the quarter sized fragments. My home is about a half mile from my grandparent’s home and I also noticed several “pot marks” on my wood deck. These “pot marks” were clearly impact points of fragments but when the fragments hit the hard wood surface they shattered to much smaller fragments and mostly powder. This event happened about mid-day.”

“This elderly man’s father was returning home around midnight on horseback sometime around the year 1890. Suddenly the sky was lighted as a ball of fire with sparks shooting off of it passed overhead. Though an excellent rider, the man was thrown from his horse. The object made, as he described, a loud whining, roaring sound and it was gone in a moment of time. He felt that the object had struck the earth nearby but it was not reported or found.”

“I found this large rock (grapefruit size) a few inches from my street on our side yard (about 2 feet wide). It was in August or early Sept. My husband and I put it away in our chifferobe where it has been for 7 mos. This week I have been digging in my small back yard to plant flowers and each day I have found a handful of smaller pieces to this big rock we found in Aug. I don’t know what a fusion crust is but if you pick it up it leaves a residue of a black sooty substance. I have many pictures but they are not good. I only have a cheap digital camera and I’m a lousy photographer as well.”

Sorry, this is not a meteorite. Almost certainly, it is a hematite concretion – and a very nice one.

“A man was working in his garden in the evening of the said date and heard a hissing sound as a rock landed less than four feet from him. He quickly went over to investigate and found a warm black rock freshly embedded in the long grass.”

“She said it had fallen through the roof in 1964 and she showed me where her roof had been repaired.”

“I’m contacting you regarding a meteorite that was found by my Great Grandmother. It fell through the roof of their home and landed on their rug, which would have been in the late 1800s, in England. The rock is the size of a tangerine, has a shiny fusion crust and weighs 132 grams”

“I have experienced rocks falling on my house. I know that these rocks are coming from Heaven, just need for it to be confirmed.”

“I was at a friend’s house a few weeks back when an object shown in the attached pictures crashed in his yard.”

“My wife found it several years ago in our back yard. It was buried most of the way into the ground with about 4″ protruding from the ground. Enough that it would have caught the mower blade. It had fell sometime since the yard was last mowed because it wasn’t there before. It appears to have fallen straight down and impacted the earth with such velocity that it cleared away dirt and grass around it and It was so deep that it had to be dug up and removed.”

Holes in the ground

Another common story is that a meteorite landed and made a big hole or crater, or that the suspected just-fallen meteorite was dug out of the ground from a depth of several feet. It does not work that way. Meteorites the size of those in the stories here land at terminal velocity, not faster than about 500 km/hour (300 miles per hour or 440 feet/second) – the same speed as it would have if dropped from a high-flying airplane. Such a rock can punch a hole in a roof or make a divot in the lawn, but it is not going to bury itself. (For comparison, the muzzle velocity of a 30-06 rifle is in the range of 2500-2800 feet/second.)

“In the evening around 4 yrs ago this stone could of killed me. I was only 5 foot away approximately when I heard a noise like a thump in the ground. I was having a cigarette & remember I had a few alcoholic drinks at the time. First I thought someone threw something at me. When I turned around I noticed a 2-3 foot deep hole in the soil like tar. I didn’t start to inspect it then as I was drunk & worried that someone was trying to injure me by throwing things at me.”

“In August of the year 1957 I was on summer holidays with my parents in the family house of my mother which is located in a village named Stemnitsa in south Greece. The altitude of the village from sea level is 1100 meters. A night of August I got up from my bed to go to the toilet. As I passed in front of a window, I suddenly saw in the dark sky a bright object approaching the ground. It was a flaming ball on the size of the basketball with a bright tail to follow. As the ball was coming down it was getting smaller size. I thought that eventually it would be completely lost in the dark sky, but was not.It fell aflame about 100 meters away from our house. I noted in my mind the part that fell. I went to sleep again and in the morning, even before the sunrise, I took my father (after he narrated the incident) to go with me to look after for the sky object because I was somewhat young then for such adventures. I was only 12 years old. We found that field and because of a bush which was half-burnt we understood the point that it had fallen. We dig in a blackened hole and in a depth of about 30 cm we found the rock that you can see in the pictures which was still warm enough.”

“My grandmother gave me this rock about 30 years ago. She grew up in White County, Indiana and told me that they woke up one morning and found a crater in the yard. My grandfather dug this up out of the crater.”

“I recently found this going through some of my mother’s things she left me after passing away, she told me she dug this up out of her flower garden this object fell from the sky around 1962… it penetrated the awning of our home one evening , the next morning she noticed the hole in the awning and dug this out of the hole it created in her flower bed…”

“One Night, I saw a flame blue and yellow coming from the sky very very fast and them landed in the beach, I hear a big noise and I went to see what happened it was about 23 hours I was closing my shop near the beach, I went to the beach and I saw a big hole I started to dig and I did not find anything I went home and I was thinking all night about it. The next day I went to the same place about 6 AM and I started to dig and after 2 hours I found one small black stone I was digging more and after 30 minutes I found other Black Stone square, small one side is concave.”

The photo below was sent to me with the following text: “We recently had a meteorite impact our yard blasting a 10 feet wide hole, which tapered down about 15 feet deep. We first thought it was an object from an aircraft. Perhaps even a weapon that fell off and was not armed not detonate. We used our bulldozer to carefully excavate and upon using a metal detector, we carefully removed the object within a mass of mud. When we washed away the mud it eventually revealed something we had not even considered. The meteorite is a solid metallic blob that weighs approx 8.2 pounds. A magnet seems to have NO attraction to any part of it.”

Where do I start. (1) From its appearance, and that in better photos sent later to a colleague of mine, I suspect that the object is a iron-oxide concretion. Concretions are dense, sometimes mistaken for metal, and those consisting of hematite will not attract a magnet. (2) Thus far, no meteorite consisting solely of iron oxide has been recognized. Such rocks are common, however, in the vicinity of where this rock was found in Missouri. (3) The rock does not have a fusion crust; a freshly fallen meteorite would have a fusion crust. (4) As mentioned above, a meteorite of this size does not have enough energy to make a crater 10 feet wide. Freshly fallen meteorites are found on the ground. (5) If the rock was excavated from a depth of 15 feet, then it has been there a long time.

“I have a son that is now 19 the other day he came home and was telling me this story about when he was little He and a friend saw this really bright fiery light fall from the sky and hit the ground. They were all excited and told a bunch of people in a restaurant but everyone ignored them. The next day they went to look to see if they could find out what they saw fall from the sky and in a cemetery there was a round whole with a bunch of pieces of rock in it. He said it was a meteorite of some kind. And now probably 10-12 years later He and a different friend happened to be in the same cemetery and he was telling the story and remembered exactly where his find was there was a circle of dirt on the ground, no grass had grown there and he bet the kid that if they dug they would find some of these strange looking rocks or whatever they were, and sure enough just below the surface the odd material was there. He did bring one or two of them home with him. Could this really have been a meteorite and who would I contact that might be interested in this. He also said the day they first found it, the tree it came through, on its landing, had the branches broken off.”

From Egypt: “I have a Meteorite ,it fell down beside my home in my land and almost to kill us .
The killer rock, with an end cut off (right). The fusion crust on a freshly fallen meteorite would not be this red and sawing it would not leave a reddish smear on the sawn face. As I emphasize elsewhere, stony meteorites are not long and thin. This thing looks like another piece of hematite. When sawn with a good saw, hematite can be surprisingly shiny and metallic looking.

Two sides of an object from Bangladesh: “…there was a loud noise and a bright light on the roof of the house. A few hours later I went to the roof and saw this object. The place where it hits is broken.” From the circular edge on the left this is probably a man-made object. There is no fusion crust and meteorites are not shaped like this.

“About 35 yrs ago my friend was sitting outside next to his cabin … and a meteor came down the size of an ostrich egg and went into the lake 20 ft from where he sat, and the next morn he waided in and dug it out, and sent it somewhere and they said it was one.”

“All I can do is swear up and down that it fell from the sky onto my windshield when i was stopped and there was nobody, car, traffic, roadwork, anywhere that could have gotten it there.”

“My husband, adult son and I were traveling on a country road…  We were the only ones on the road…  Suddenly something slammed into the area directly where the windshield meets the top of the roof on the driver’s side of our 2022 Highlander SUV.  It was very loud and hit very hard.  None of us saw anything approaching the car. When we arrived at our destination the roof of the car near the windshield was covered in a white powder that continued onto the sunroof of the car… On the way back we tried to see a sacks or container was near the impact area, etc along the road and saw nothing but it was very dark. The area of impact was only open fields, no trees and no homes. No signs that a bird or other animal had hit the car… The impact dented the roof and caused a ripple near the sunroof, so the impact was hard.”

This photo was sent to me with the following story: “…a flaming ball of fire landed at my foot. It was hot. I let it cool off and picked it up. It was the size not much bigger than a marble.” OK, but it’s not a meteorite. A freshly fallen meteorite would have a fusion crust and this rock does not. Also, meteorites do not have vesicles like this.

“Unfortunately, I no longer have the actual meteorite, but I know that I had one. It hit a cherry tree in the backyard of the house across the street one night when I was a kid. Sounded like an explosion! The next day, the tree looked like it had been hit by lightning, though there had been no lightning that night. I think there may have been a meteor shower, but I’m not certain. The tree was split in half. I found the meteorite some yards away, embedded in the ground! I know it had not been there previously, it would have been quite obvious. If I’m recalling correctly, the grass around the impact site was somewhat scorched, as well. It was about the size of a baseball or just slightly smaller, but not spherical like one, seemed to be sort of metallic, and heavy for its size.”

“My husband went out to mow our three acres of land. It had rained really hard for a few days, and he told me to come out and see this big strange rock in the grass. We have no idea how it could have got there as it weighs almost 25 pounds. It seems alot more heavier. It could not have fallen off a passing truck as it’s at least 100 feet from the road. … there are no rocks in our clay soil. I know you are bothered by a lot of dumb calls but we really don’t know what to do. It had to fall from the sky in our minds. The only other way would be for someone to carry it and place it where we found it. My husband and I are retired and do not play pranks. And we live out in the country where neighbors are few and far between.”

The outside melts, but meteorites do not “burn” or look burnt

“An old friend saw a burning mass fall in his yard up north in 1984 and last summer I was able to go to the spot and search. I found this greyish, porous rock which is severely burnt and melted at one end.”

“One night, a rock, black and burnt looking (with what appears to be reddish gray dust, also has like glitter under the black ,you can bearly see )came crashing down onto the hood of my van . It hit so hard it dented, cutting the hood. When it hit it also broke my windshield wiper and cracked my windshield. This was at 10:30 at night. There were no kids around . No vehicles. I went back with a flashlight and retrieved this stone. I am sure this is the rock that hit my van because there is a small amount of my paint from the hood on it.”

“Eight years ago when I was in fourth grade I was sitting in my backyard on my wooden skateboard ramp, alone, when I heard a relatively loud thud on the ramp about five feet away from me. I turned quickly to see a rock bounce into my yard. I picked up the rock in curiosity. At first I thought my neighbor had thrown it at me, so I scanned to see if he was around but he was nowhere to be seen. I later questioned him on the subject and he didn’t know what I was talking about.”

“It was the summer of 2013. I was sitting on a porch with my friend and there was a faint THUNK as a small rock came down from the air and landed next to us.”

“Last June, I heard what seemed to be a bunch of gravel being tossed across the roof of our log cabin and travel trailer metal roofs.”

“A couple of years ago I heard what sounded like bits of rock spray across our metal roof, didn’t think much about it at first, next morning I thought that maybe what I heard were bits of meteorites that possibly fell on my roof.”

“On May 24,1997 a rock weighing 58 grams hit the screen door of my back patio piercing through it and putting a chip in the plate glass. It made quite a noise.”

“yesterday while in my backyard these came hurling out of the sky with such velocity I thought I was being shot at by bullets because you could hear the whistle sound as they were coming down, one hit a metal cage in my backyard and it sounded like a boulder hit it when I couldn’t even see what actually hit it, one of them hit me in the arm and left a welt it barely grazed my arm with a sweatshirt on but still made a good mark and bruise, I found these two odd looking soft metal pieces in my backyard where I was standing, they are not magnetic they are light in weight. I was told they could be pieces from an airplane but I just don’t know I just know it was one of the scariest days of my life yesterday not knowing what it actually was so I’m glad I found these but I sure would like to know what they are.”

Airplane parts, space debris, or other chunks of man-made metal

“As I looked out my window, I saw a rock sitting on my deck. I went outside to look at it and at first, I didn’t think it was anything to out of the ordinary. Not until a few minutes later, when I looked back at my house to discover this rock pierced through the siding of my house, into a layer of my insulation and then it must of bounced off and landed on my deck. That’s when I became suspicious.”

“I was driving home one night, still in Virginia, about 9 p.m. est on a long straight road that has nothing but farmer’s fields on either side. From the top of my windshield I saw this big (well, it looked very large) burning thing falling to the ground, very fast. It burned all the way near to the ground, at what was about 30 yards from the ground it went out for a second then lite back up and appeared to burn out about 10-13 feet from the groun d. It was not only very close to me, maybe 1/2 mile, but it also had smaller pieces coming off of it that were also burning. It had a burning trail, or tail that was long, very long streaming from it… I was awe struck. It lit an entire section of the field up. That’s how I knew it landed in the field. I saw the plowed corn stalks where the farmers had disked the old corn under it’s light. It lit a huge section up. I never heard it hit and since it went out just before it landed I did not see an impact. Not to mention I almost wrecked my jeep watching it!”

My reaction to this nicely detailed story (and some others reported here): Meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds typically of 12-40 km/s relative to the earth (27,000-89,000 mph). That is equivalent to going from New York to Los Angeles in 2 to 6 minutes. Meteors stop incandescing (the light goes out) tens of kilometers above the earth’s surface. It takes a few minutes for any surviving fragments to fall to the ground during the “dark flight.” They keep moving in same general direction, but their fall becomes more vertical and is subject to the speed and direction of the wind. The fragments land at terminal velocity, about 100-200 m/s (220-450 mph). Meteorites are not glowing when they hit the ground. Also, meteorites are much smaller than most people think they are, typically a few centimeters in size. This all means that the meteorite fragments land far from where you last saw the meteor and there is no way that observers at a single point on Earth’s surface are going to find fragments of the meteorite. Most freshly fallen meteorites are found by triangulation from multiple videos and cameras (including doorbell cameras!). See the story at the end of this page about the Winchcombe meteorite. The meteor was seen by more than 1000 observers and cameras over the entire United Kingdom yet pieces of the meteorite were recovered only along a 5-mile-long track near Winchcombe.

Another “thwomp” story

“I have this rock that fell in my driveway today. My first thought from about 20 feet away was that it was some sort of compacted fecal matter that fell from an air craft. If it is that, I am sorry that I have wasted your time. The sound it made when it fell can only be described as a loud thwomp. Roughly 5 seconds after I heard the sound, I opened my front door. (I happened to be standing next to said front door, picking my son up.) There was nobody outside. After taking a picture of it from roughly 3 feet away from it, I put my son to bed, returned and took another picture from one foot away. Those are in the other email I sent you. The rock is in two main pieces, and one small piece. Altogether it is 12.80″ long, 4’5″ wide and 3.5″ deep. I don’t have a magnet to test it with. I don’t own a single magnet. It is heavy; heavier than my 25 pound toddler. If this IS some sort of meteorite or other matter that you have an educative interest in, it is all yours. I am honestly not at all interested in doing a chemical analysis and sawing the rock up or any other such actions. I am not interested in selling it, either. I just want to make sure, before I throw it out, that it is not something of scientific, geological or educational value. I cannot go out and buy an expensive digital camera with which to take pictures of it, so the quality I am sending is the best I have. I have amended my earlier aversion to touching it (ziplocs are great gloves), and will bring it into my house to take a couple better pictures for you. Past that, I am sticking it in a plastic bag and putting it outside until I hear from you.”

The rock. It does not look like a meteorite. It is obviously weathered on the exterior. When a meteorite comes through the atmosphere, it loses most of its exterior material to ablation. The remaining material is not rusty and weathered. Also, it is rounded without sharp edges.

“7 years ago I saw a meteor falling above me. I slowed to a stop as it’s fire-ball got larger until it ‘poffed’ into a non-moving white flash about 75 feet in diameter at about 500 feet above the ground. After about 5 seconds I heard a ‘thud’. ‘Next’ I thought, ‘there is a meteorite on my ranch’ “

“about 9:00 PM as my wife Judy and myself were sitting in our living room with the front windows open and we heard a loud pitch sound and a impact that sounded like a light bulb being shot out ? We went out front and checked the lights on the front of our garage and looking around we found splattered rocks very close to the garage door on our cement driveway. I took my time and picked all of them up and put them in a jar.”

“I am writing this for my mother. She has a rock which has all the characteristics mentioned in your article on meteorites. She was working in the yard …laid down her rake….went back later for it…..and this rock was laying there.”

“In the early 1900″ my great grandparents were awakened early one morning around 3.00am. by something falling into their front yard when day lite came my great grandfather dug this meteorite up, it was still smoking.”

“My Grandfather saw this meteorite fall from the sky about 50 years ago. He Found it in a cornfield the next morning. My Father has it now and I don’t think he knows how rare and valuable it is. I believe it is a lunar meteorite and it weighs at least 20 pounds.”

“In 2004 winter some late; I push my son to take a walk nearby the park, suddenly in is away from me not to 6 meter about street lights, is pounded broken by a ball, this ball rolls to my foot nearby, I pick conveniently it, thought originally is some people is playing a ball game hits not carefully. But has a look all around unexpectedly continually a person’s shadow not to have Difficult inadequate is the space falls; Has turned head inspects the street light, it is from place above is pounded, also has a look in the hand this ball under the light sparkling. Never sees the so perfect universe rugby. Examines many related meteorites the pictures and the news, but I pick this as if too too is perfect, but I believe firmly it indeed am come from the outer space; Because it almost projects on me; The following is I to its description: It has a light mirror surface fusion outer covering, in the spherical surface is inlaying the near hundred seven colors (yellow, green, purple, orange color, brown, gray, white) the gem; One side has is likely has been roasted by the fire, has the colored round corona. The son one side is not that smooth in addition. It not by magnet attraction; After also had the hit street light the spot to lack a small angle; The fusion outer covering interior is likely the green glass material quality, has many bubbles, it may be diaphanous. The penetration photosource is likely the viridis eyeball. It is likely a grain of glass moonie. sorry cannot send for you the sample, because I do not want to destroy it.”

from the Peoria Journal Star

Rock that smashed window likely from recycling center

Friday, April 6, 2007
By: Fitzgerald M. Doubet
of the Journal Star

BLOOMINGTON – The alleged meteorite that crashed through a Bloomington couple’s home last month now appears to have a more earthly origin. Robert “Skip” Nelson, a professor of geology at Illinois State University, along with his colleagues, originally believed the metallic rock that landed March 5 in David and Dee Riddle’s home at 25 Partner Place to be a meteorite. Upon further examination, his theory has changed.

“It appears that it was a piece of metal, steel actually, that had been embedded in a log probably as a growing tree,” Nelson said. “The log was put into a wood chipper, an industrial wood chipper. Inside the chipper the hammers were revolving at a significant velocity, and when they hit this piece of metal in there, it kicked it out the top of the chipper with a velocity in excess of 200 miles an hour.”

Nelson believes the piece of steel – about the size and shape of a deck of cards – inadvertently wound up in the wood chipper at Twin City Wood Recycling on Oakland Avenue.

“They found that it came crashing through the house, and traveling that velocity, the first thought was that it was a meteor,” Nelson said. “It was coming down at a 60 degree angle. When it was shot out, or ejected from the chipper, it traveled over 300 meters, more than 900 feet, two city blocks. It was really moving and had a trajectory like you fired it out of a mortar.”

John Wollrab, owner of Twin City Wood Recycling, said foreign objects making their way through the chipper is not common.

“It happens from time to time, but we try to prevent that,” Wollrab said.

The Riddles plan to keep the shiny black piece of steel around as a memento of their experience.

“It was fun. I’m a little disappointed, though,” Dee Riddle said. “It would have been a lot more fun if it had been even something from outer space, maybe not even a meteorite. We have had fun with it, and we will keep it just as a conversation piece.”

Another window smasher: “I live in the UK and have had a roof window completely shattered. I looked to see what it was that caused it but there was nothing. Weeks later my daughter found a rock, in the front part of are garden about 10 metres away from the house. I felt instantly it had come from space.” This is a photo of the rock (size?). It is not a meteorite because it does not have a fusion crust and it is vesicular.

Mystery object from sky identified as woodchipper part

By: The Associated Press
18 July 2007, 4:27 p.m. ET

BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) — A hunk of metal that crashed through the roof of a home had NASA and Federal Aviation Administration officials scratching their heads.

It didn’t look “very space-y,” said Henry Kline, a spokesman for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. ” It’s obviously made for something … But we wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

It didn’t appear to be an airplane part either, the FAA said.

Finally, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said Wednesday, a colleague in his office solved the mystery: It was part of a commercial woodchipper. The same part from another woodchipper’s grinder had caused similar confusion last year, he said. [The Bloomington, IL, story above.]

How it got on a Bayonne roof was anyone guess, but Peters had a theory. The grinder piece moves very fast and, apparently, it can launch into the air if something goes wrong.

The man who lives in the house was watching television Tuesday when he heard a crash and saw a cloud of dust. In the next room, he found the hunk of gray metal, 3 1/2 inches by 5 inches, with two hexagonal holes in it.

The part was being returned to Bayonne Police on Wednesday, Peters said.

“It belongs to somebody,” Police Director Mark Smith said.

Object that fell through roof of Dallas home was part of a tree-mulching machine, police say

Associated Press
February 27, 2009

DALLAS – Police say a 6-pound chunk of metal that crashed through the roof of a Dallas home was part of a machine that was grinding up an unwanted tree nearby.

Sgt. Gil Cerda says: “Mystery solved.” So much for the theory it could have been a piece of debris from this month’s collision of Russian and U.S. satellites.

Cerda says the metal chunk was a grinding tip of a mulching machine being used by a tree disposal service crew. No one was hurt when it went flying Tuesday.

Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said no charges will be filed against the business because it was an accident.

The satellite debris theory also came up when a fireball streaked across the Texas sky Feb. 15. That turned out to be a meteorite. It also surfaced last week when a piece of metal crashed through a New Jersey warehouse. That was another errant piece of a mulching machine.

‘Meteorite’ that struck a French woman was just a regular Earth rock that either fell from a roof, a plane’s wheels or was thrown by BURGLARS to see if anyone was home, experts claim

READ MORE: Woman claimed she was hit by a meteorite while enjoying a coffee
But experts say rock has ‘too many angles’ to be extraterrestrial and is from Earth
July 19, 2023
By: Sam Tonklin for MAILONLINE

A woman who claimed she was struck by a meteorite earlier this month may actually have been hit by a regular Earth rock, experts have claimed.

The unnamed victim was enjoying a coffee with a friend on the terrace of her home in Schirmeck, north-eastern France, when she ‘felt a shock in the ribs’.

It followed a bang on the roof above her, leading to the assumption that a space rock may have smashed into it before falling off and hitting the woman.

“I happened to google about things that fall from a the sky. I will attach a couple photos of the item that came through the roof of our garage, hit a bag of cardboard boxes, broke a 2 ft piece of 2×4 & broke the drywall attached below that. Once it hit the concrete floor it rolled over ten feet to the along with drywall chips to the big garage closed door. We are in the path of the Indianapolis airport, however, I spoke to two people from FAA, they didn’t ask for pics or seemed concern. The Greenwood, IN police had referred them, and again they didn’t investigate as well. While reading your article I found the wood chipper incidents interesting [above], as we have a city facility behind us that process wood debris for mulch.

Left: The hole in the roof. Right: The “item.” It is hexagonal and abraded, so it is man-made.

“I believe it is a meteorite because my window was broken and it left a huge circular area where it busted the glass out then the rest of the window preceded to fall into my back seat. It is about the size of an eye.”

“My husband found this rock on our back porch next to a long skid across a concrete pad and a dent in the house.”

“While I was looking outside of my bathroom window on the second floor. I had an object to strike my copper roof which, I just happened to witness and heard as it hit. My first thought was, ‘What the heck was that?'”

A story from Ireland

“Forty years ago, I was bringing in turf from a bog with my father and I heard a loud ‘woshhhh’ sound. I looked up and saw (what looked like) a big silver ball with a big long trail of light behind it. Suddenly there came splinters off it and it went out. There was a trail of (what looked like) smoke for a few seconds after it disappeared and there was a loud thud. It frightened me, but my father said it was just a ‘shooting star and if you get it, it will bring you luck forever’. It fell quite near to us, in a small grazing field. I went over to where it was and picked it up. It was on top of the ground and there was nothing else in the field. I brought it home and left it on a flower bed at home and there it sat for 40 years. I knew nothing about meteorites then but since, with media/internet and school I have learned more about them. It’s been on my mind to get it looked at and would love to get it checked out.”

The rock. This one actually looks like it might be a meteorite. I never heard from the fellow again.

“we saw a round ball type of glowing multiple colors (Red, Blue, Green but predominantly red) with a tail of many colors, making a whishing sound (whoosh). It was heading towards an open field. It was found the next day in the morning as it glowed as the sun reflected on it in the open field.”

“I attached five photos of my rock for you to look at it and see what you think about this rock. It landed on the roof of my house back in 2001. it weighed about 3.5 Kg. a little magnetic and metallic on it as you see in one of photos. It has very light fusion crust but I still not sure, it is dark gray. I found it about a couple feet from the hole on second floor attic.”

“Hey I was looking up meteorites last night because a friend stopped by with one that crashed through his roof it’s real heavy and he left a piece here that broke off.”

Mysterious chunks of ice pelt Iowa town
July 27, 2007

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Large chunks of ice, one of them reportedly about 50 pounds, fell from the sky in this northeast Iowa city, smashing through a woman’s roof and tearing through nearby trees.Authorities were unsure of the ice’s origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere — both rare occurrences.

“It sounded like a bomb!” 78-year-old Jan Kenkel said. She said she was standing in her kitchen when an ice chunk crashed through her roof at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday. “I jumped about a foot!”

“Occasionally, aircraft latrines discharge contents at altitude, resulting in chunks of descending ice. Airplanes also sometimes accumulate ice on their edges in certain atmospheric conditions, including high altitude and extreme moisture,” said Robert Grierson, the Dubuque Regional Airport manager and a pilot.

“Here is my story. I’m pretty sure this rock came from the sky which is very magnetic. It hit my house in a very strange spot. It hit my front window of my house that is facing a southerly direction. It was about eight feet off the ground and it ripped through a stainless steel screen.”

“Well in 1994 this thing fell out of the sky and hit an 18 wheeler and did major damage to the truck”

“I found this rock in my chicken pin about a month ago, April. It was laying on yellow grass ,was easily seen ,I check area for eggs each day, it wasn’t there the day before. The rock is a light brown and light black on one side. The rock didn’t have any dirt in it which is unusual in a chick pin, they like moving things around. Checked with magnet of my uniform badge and didn’t grab or maybe just a little if my imagination didn’t kick in.”

from the Asbury Park Press

Tests show object isn’t meteorite

Saturday, May 12, 2007
BY: Joseph Sapia
of the Journal Star
Freehold Bureau

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The flying object that came crashing through the roof of a township house in January was not a meteorite, as initially thought.

Not to worry. It appears man-made, not space invader-made, according to recent testing, information about which was released Friday.

“Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel,” said Jeremy Delaney, a Rutgers University meteoriticist who became involved in analyzing the item Jan. 3, the day after it fell and when the homeowner notified township police. The rock-like item was silver and brown, lumpy but smooth. It was about 2-1/2 inches by 1-1/2 inches, weighing about 13 ounces.

Because the object had no specific distinguishing characteristics, “we can’t take it much further” to identify its source, Delaney said. Although it remains an unidentified flying object, Delaney speculated it was “space junk,” or spacecraft debris.

Srinivasan Nageswaran, whose family discovered the silver object after it crashed through the roof and into the upstairs bathroom of his home, was disappointed by the news.

“That’s the nature of science,” the 46-year-old information technology consultant said Friday. “If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward.”

“It’s still the world’s most popular metallic object that fell from the sky,” Nageswaran said. Debris falls daily.

About 11,000 items of space debris larger than about 4 inches are known to exist, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. All told, according to NASA, tens of millions of space debris items probably exist.

Over the last 40 years, an average of one piece per day of known space debris has fallen to Earth, with no serious injuries or significant damage to property confirmed, according to the space agency. “Space junk is kind of a default answer,” Delaney said, explaining conventional aircraft would be eliminated as a source because the Federal Aviation Administration reported none in the area at the time of the crash.

Peter Elliott, a Colts Neck metallurgist involved in an early analysis of the object – and who thought it was a meteorite – suspected space debris when told of the test results.

The item seems to have come from space because of a triangle-like pattern, suggesting heat, Elliott said. An item falling from a conventional aircraft at a lower altitude would not have had the heat pattern, Elliott said.

About a week and a half ago, scientists viewed the item under a new, advanced electron microscope at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, then immediately analyzed the results, Delaney said. By the end of that day, the scientists from the museum and Rutgers concluded it was not a meteorite, Delaney said.

The item had chromium, a typical component of stainless steel, Delaney said. A meteorite would have been basically nickel and iron, Delaney said.

“This particular composition is not one we’ve ever seen (happening naturally),” Delaney said.

The delay in testing the item was a combination of arranging schedules of the Nageswaran family and those of scientists, as well as the availability of the microscope, Delaney said.

“It’s a new tool and it’s very much in demand,” Delaney said of the microscope.

On Jan. 2, the item crashed into the family’s home in the Colts Pride development along Route 537. It went through the roof, then into a second-floor bathroom, where it bounced off a tile floor and embedded into the wall, according to township police.

Early on, there seemed a sureness the object was a meteorite. Its shape, density, color and magnetism suggested meteorite, according to Rutgers.

Household stainless steel generally is nonmagnetic, Elliott said. But stainless steel does come in magnetic forms, Elliott said.

“There was a sureness in the evidence that was available – the physical evidence,” Delaney said. “But we wanted to test it more thoroughly.”

Delaney said he was unaware of any continued analysis now that the item is determined not to be a meteorite.

“I was pretty comfortable from right when I first saw it (that it was a meteorite),” said Elliott, who was not involved in the recent testing. ” I wonder how many of the past ones (believed to be meteorites) were fully analyzed.”

On Jan. 27, the Rutgers University Geology Museum displayed the object as a meteorite at its open house.

“Oh, well, you win some, you lose some,” said Delaney, speaking of the display. “Now, we are in the position of saying, “Oops.”

The public, now, has a glimpse of how scientific analysis works, Delaney said.

“New experimental evidence routinely causes scientists to change earlier hypotheses that were based on the best information available at that time,” Delaney said.

After the object crashed through the roof, various people reported objects falling from the sky. Delaney viewed up to 50 objects, with all turning out to be a “meteorwrong” – not a meteorite.

Of the 50, only one falling in the “same general area” on possibly the same day might be related debris, Delaney said. No more information was immediately available on the other object.

Aircraft debris would have fallen at the same time, while orbiting debris could have fallen over hours, Delaney said.

Had it been a meteorite, within the context of it crashing through a house, “it was probably worth several thousand dollars,” Delaney said.

And, now that it is likely man-made debris?

“Zero, regrettably,” Delaney said.

“I was stopped at a traffic light last December and this hit my back window of my truck and landed on my bed cover”

“The attached photos are of a rock found approximately 8 feet from a shattered glass table located under a wooden slat pergola on our pool deck…”

“I know you may get several emails from people but I thought it best to see of you could give me your expert opinion on what happened at my house yesterday. I came home from work around 4:00 p.m. and went to get the mail. On my way back to the house I noticed what looked like a bullet hole in my driveway. I looked around and noticed several of them.”

“I was sitting on my back patio (facing North) looking at the Big Dipper when all of a sudden I see the most brilliant/bright ball come flying over my house with a fire tail behind it. It was so incredible. I could actually here it “fizzing” as it came over the house. As I sat there in amazement, watching this, I heard a “thump” like sound as it was passing over my house. The next day I decided to go investigate where I thought I heard the sound. To my amazement, the pictures show what I found. The rock was in my front yard laying in bark dust.”

This photo was sent to me by a man from Montenegro who said that “the man who found this stone claims [it] to have fallen from the sky and made a smaller indentation in the ground at the place where he keeps the sheep.” It does not look like a meteorite; it looks like slag.

“I’ve had my local geology department look at a pebble that hit me in the head (felt like a rain drop). Please take me seriously. It is a bit funny. …It is magnetic, shiny black, heavy for its size, and did hit me in the head and stuck in my hair. I pulled it out five minutes later. I had got out of the shower 15 minutes previous, therefore when I found it, I thought; how the heck??”

“My sister’s Cadillac trunk lid received a nasty dent that nearly pierced the metal. The damage is slightly downward. Everyone assumes a nearby lawn mower threw a rock. A rock the size of a baseball was found close by. The rock has a thin layer of crust and responds to a magnet and is very heavy for its size. Any ideas ?”


Police in Newcastle, Australia, reported a spate of frozen chickens smashing into house roofs with great force. They suspected a prankster with a powerful catapult.

“Last month my mom was taking her garbage out and this “meteorite” “rock” fall out of the sky about 8 feet from her into the driveway… There were no people around so nobody threw it and she did see it fall and hit ground.”

“I think I might have found a meteorite. I’ve put in a link to a few pictures and will keep the email short. I found the rock next to my parked car in the apartment complex parking lot in Austin, TX. The parking space is paved with normal asphalt used for making roads. Here’s why I think this might be a meteorite; it had created a dent / small crater of the shape and size similar to the rock in such hard asphalt and of course there aren’t any other rocks like this around here.”

“One night while out in the yard with the dog, I heard the sound of a rock being whizzed through the trees and then a thud sound a short distance from where I was standing. It was too dark to see clearly so I just proceeded to go inside. The following day my husband is holding this rock in his hand telling me he thinks he found a meteorite in the backyard. He said it stood out like a sore thumb, because it was just laying on top of the ground in an area we had just cleared a few days before. After showing me where he found it, I told him about the incident the night before.”

A geologist colleague sent me this story

“One time a man calls me and says he went on vacation and upon his return he found a meteorite embedded in his house – so I check it out the still embedded rock and impact trajectory – seemed all wrong – I asked him do you have a lawn service? – yep, – and do they have a riding mower? – yep, and they cut the grass while you were away? – yep – mystery solved – and it was a limestone cobble!!.”

“anyway…the attached photos are of a rock that appeared ON my patio about two weeks before…I did not record the exact day, but I believe it was around the 11th, or 12th of June 2010. I also HEARD it hit my shop/apartment while trying to take an afternoon nap around 2-3pm est. My shop has metal (steel) siding. I didn’t rise to check what made the noise, but nobody was mowing there yard, and I’m far enough away from the road, that I’m very certain it wasn’t flung or ejected . When I did rise and stepped out the door, sat down in my chair, I looked to my right and there it was. It does NOT look like any local rocks.”

“i assure you it’s meteorite because the lad didn’t look for it .he watched it fell on the sand near where they were standing one night. he knows much about the desert .he knows the whereabouts and where it fell coz not far from the tent .the next days and till the other friends forgot about it he went and picked it took him very little time coz he knew where it was lying ! he recognized it coz its sight becomes different while he was walking around it. i asked him to take more photos. he is in the desert. he lives there.”

“I was standing 10 feet from a car today at work when I heard a loud smash from a customers car. Window was smashed white stuff all over windshield and that rock. The rock was cold like ice and in pic you can see it’s even wet.”

The windshield and the “rock.” Meteorites are never this vesicular and there is no fusion crust.

“In the early 1950’s my husband’s father was brought to a small forest in NY by a local and he showed him where the night before a meteor had crashed. It was approximately half the size of a Volkswagen sitting in a small crater at the end of a triangle shaped path cut through the trees. The path through the tree was a fairly clean cut and burnt.”

“In the mid-90’s a rock fell out of the sky in the evening and lodged into the siding of my parent’s house in Palmer, Kansas. I feel it might be a meteorite simply because it fell from the sky and because of the angle that it stuck into the house.”

“As we approached our house my wife Jean pointed to the roof of our house and said look someone has broken into our house. The roof of our house is tiled and one tile was smashed. At that point I could not think of any reason what smashed it. I fetched my ladder and got a spare roof tile from the shed. I had to get it replaced before the rain did any damage to the ceiling. The tile was on the third row up from the gutter and I could work on it easily. After taking all the broken pieces out I could then look inside but no more than a meter. Just to the right of the hole was a rock, I took the rock out and I immediately thought that someone had thrown it, but that just does not happen here. The rock is about the size of a cricket ball.”

“My wife back in November heard a load bang outside our house. The next morning when we walked out our door we found a rock looking thing in our walkway. We then went to our security cameras to see if we could find anything. The only thing that showed up was Motion, but we could not see anything.”

“I found, what i believe to be a meteorite in my yard, we heard it in the middle of the night hit my house and it damaged my gutters”

“I am sending you this email because my daughter came across this unusual rock in a strange and unusual way. It was May 31, 2011 around 1:30 in the afternoon. She was outside the home here in Pleasanton Texas, when suddenly she was struck on the back by this rock. What was strange was when I asked her which direction she was facing when struck. She searched for anyone who may of thrown it but found nobody. The opposite direction of which she was facing was only brushy farm land for cattle and no houses for a mile or more. I know the rock did not of hit her directly before striking her back, because she was not injured at all. She said she felt only a thump, like if it had come from a close distance. I believe if it may of struck the earth before bouncing towards her back. The rock seems to have some sort of fusion crust, also the core is bubble like, a lighter shade of rust color with white pigments slightly throughout the core. It looks to be one of those rare lunar meteorites.” [The rock the photo actually appeared to be a piece of hematite.]

A story sent to me from England

“Many years ago a friend and his buddies, who were mischievous lads in a rural area, found an old yoke from a lawnmower. Pondering what to do with such a find, he came up with the idea of making a giant slingshot. They found some truly huge rubber bands and collected a stash of appropriate sized stones, and they managed to rig up the device in an abandoned field outside town. They disported themselves on a fine morning by launching their missiles idly into the air until they became bored, then wandered off in search of fresh amusement. The next day, there was a story in the local paper about a mysterious hail of rocks from the sky. No one was hurt, but several cars suffered some damage.”

“I have this rock that fell in my driveway today. My first thought from about 20 feet away was that it was some sort of compacted fecal matter that fell from an air craft. If it is that, I am sorry that I have wasted your time. The sound it made when it fell can only be described as a loud thwomp. Roughly 5 seconds after I heard the sound, I opened my front door. (I happened to be standing next to said front door, picking my son up.) There was nobody outside. After taking a picture of it from roughly 3 feet away from it, I put my son to bed, returned and took another picture from one foot away. Those are in the other email I sent you.”

“It was in the evening around 6:30 – 7:00pm that I heard a bang on my bedroom glass louver and bang on the floor as the rock landed on the bedroom floor. My immediate reaction was that someone threw a rock at the house. Upon inspection I discovered this rock the size of a match box, grey in colour, dense and rather unique. Am suspicious it might be a meteorite.”

“This rock fell from the sky and passed through a tree then sank about 6 feet into the ground.” It looks like metal but not iron or steel. The shape is not rounded enough to be a meteorite and there is no hint that the outside melted, so it is not a meteorite. A meteorite this size would not bury itself to a depth of 6 feet.

“I’ve attached some photos of two meteorites that struck and broke through the front deck of my house last week.”

“Three weeks ago, my family and I were spending the weekend in our beach house, pacific shore in Guatemala, it was mid-day and we all were around the pool, suddenly we heard a really strong bang in the air, kind of like gunshots and then this rock bounced hard and fast in the cement floor and went into the pool, it hit first the roof which has a 45 degree angle, in which i assume the banging noise was made, thank God it didn’t hit any of us. The noise was so hard that the maintenance guy came from the other side of the house sure that shots have been fired. My daughter took it out from the water and the first thing that got to my attention was that it was very dark (black) with little white specs, and a couple of dark red specs as well on it, and heavy for its size.”

“Well, I walk down there 1 day and nobody goes down there it’s fresh snow laid out. Well the pond had a big [redacted] hole in the middle and it cracked from side to side in web form the pond is about a half acre. Then I found a hole in the snow with this in it. … Now this is 100 percent for a fact, it did fall from the sky. … There is no way nobody put it there because there was a hole in the snow & there was no footprints around for miles. Only way is if someone dropped it out of a helicopter.”

“A colleague and I were in front of my store on Friday night/Saturday morning, and during the middle of our discussion we heard and felt something land right next to us in the parking lot. We both immediately reacted to it as though something was thrown at us, but there were no people or vehicles around. During our reaction, there seemed to be more pieces falling, and both of our reactions were akin to it “raining” objects from the sky. After the noise of falling objects stopped, we noticed the larger rock (of the three samples that I have gathered) laying adjacent to us. This rock was wedged in between the asphalt of the parking lot and the cement of the curb leading to the walkway in front of my store. I mentioned to my colleague that something had hit my knee (I was sitting at the time of the impact) and we immediately noticed another fragment on the walkway next to my stool. Finally, we spotted a third fragment to our left, also on the asphalt. After discussing what the rocks could be, we felt as though a single rock had impacted near us and then broke into fragments, explaining the “raining” effect that we had considered. Upon coming to this conclusion, we decided to investigate the general direction from where we had heard the initial impact, and we quickly found what looked to be a pair of impact trails. We took a photo of one of the trails (a linear pile of powdered debris) and that was the end of the night. Observations: After looking at the rocks immediately upon discovery, I felt as though they resembled cement or concrete.”


Toms River man learns mysterious rock that landed in his yard is not a meteorite

October 6, 2010

TOMS RIVER — The mysterious rock that almost conked townshipresident Salvadore D’Addario on the head a year ago is still that: a mystery.

Experts from the planetariums at Ocean County College, here, and Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg said Wednesday it most definitely is not a meteorite.

“It’s molded. It doesn’t have the right shape, nor does it have burn marks,” said William P. McClain, a Raritan Valley planetarium instructor who has a background in geology and meteorology.

Shrugging his shoulders, McClain concluded, “It’s a piece of something.”In July 2009, D’Addario had been cutting his backyard when a 3-pound rock of something landed near him.

“I looked around to see if someone was throwing rocks from across the lagoon, but there was no one there,” D’Addario said.

D’Addario said the object was warm to the touch — also an indication that it did not originate from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.”If it came from space, it would have been ice cold,” said Gloria A. Villalobos, director of Robert J. Novins Planetarium at Ocean County College.

That is, an object falling through the atmosphere eventually is slowed by atmospheric friction, quelling any fireballs — although the “slow speed” is relative. Linda Welzenbach, a Smithsonian Institution geologist and meteorite scientist, estimated that one meteorite that hit a Lorton, Va., doctor’s office in January had a terminal velocity of 200 mph. By contrast, a skydiver reaches a terminal velocity of about 120 mph.

Villalobos also showed Sal D’Addario and his wife, Arleen, some of the college’s meteorites. They all were rounded, had thumb-sized dimples from tumbling through the atmosphere and were attracted to a magnet, Villalobos pointed out.By contrast, D’Addario’s rock was blocky, had no “crust,” as would be evident in an iron meteorite, and does not stick to a magnet. There is also an equally mysterious square-shaped impression, as if made by one end of an Allen wrench.

It also is probable that the material did not come from a spent rocket booster or satellite or fall off a plane. D’Addario’s rock is heavy for its size, possibly indicating a lead-based composition. It can be scratched by a key, which means it is a soft metal. The aerospace industry generally uses aluminum or titanium, lightweight but strong materials.

McClain and Villalobos suggested that D’Addario take the specimen to a geology laboratory, where scientists can take pieces of it and analyze its composition. D’Addario said he will follow through with the suggestion.

“You may not find out where it came from, but at least you can find out what it is,” said Marc Schneider, an Ocean County College planetarium volunteer who brings meteorites to various schools.

“I live in Tucson, AZ on the Air Force base, Tuesday morning I heard a loud thud hit my garage, I didn’t think much of it until I was about to walk my dog and found a rock sitting in my drive way. I brought it into the house. Later on when school was out my daughter came home and said it was a moon rock.”

“Day before yesterday around noon while having tea with a friend on my back patio, I heard a “pop” behind me, and almost instantly something smacked hard into the concrete just behind my chair and then went whizzing across the patio and into the grass. It came from the upside of a steep hill just behind my house and after looking at the ballistics, it appears to have skipped off of rocks and perhaps a gravel road before reaching my patio.”

“Yesterday walking to my son’s track meet i saw this rock fall from the sky (others saw it to) it hit the curb in the parking lot and broke in half.”

“Yesterday afternoon my wife and I were sitting in my backyard in Independence Kansas. We had our patio umbrellas up and heard a sound not unlike really fine sand raining down on the umbrellas and a nearly simultaneous thud on the roof which is directly beside the umbrellas. This rock rolled between us.”

A good crash story

About 2 weeks ago, the family and I decided to go out for gelato. I took the dog out to pee, and was standing about 5 feet from my car. It was evening, sunny, calm wind. Suddenly, a loud crash hit the sunroof of my car, splaying glass on the dog and I. Honestly, I thought it was a gunshot…after all, we live in New Orleans. After ducking and waiting for the next shot which did not come, I approached the car.Now you have to understand at this point, that I have only had the car back in my possession for about a week since a tree fell through the sunroof during the “tropical depression” that blew through here.

Anyway, as I went to the car, my husband came out of the house with our disabled daughter to go to the gelato joint. I told him what happened and he climbed up to survey the damage. In the middle of the sunroof was a hole the size of a rock, and it hit with enough force to crack the edges of the sunroof…the rock had gone through and was lodged under the glass.

Now, do I believe that a meteorite hit my car, parked in the driveway, minding its own business just a week or so of having a new sunroof put it…no. But, do I think a kid (there are none around) could have lobbed the rock with that much force to shatter the glass…no.

So, here I am writing to you to ask…what the hell happened???

Attached are photos of a rock that l found on the aluminum roof of our porch. There is no explanation as to where it came from; nothing hanging over porch and no kids nearby, and birds don’t lay rocks.

The windshield and the “rock.” Meteorites are never this vesicular and there is no fusion crust.

“…my husband and I heard a loud crash today in our kitchen around 2- 3pm. We though something glass fell or broke. We went looking and couldn’t find anything. A couple hours later I opened the window and sitting there between the screen and the window on the window ledge was a rock. See pictures below. It had broken through the screen, hit the window(which fortunately did not break) and landed on the sill. At first I thought maybe someone threw the rock at the house from the back yard (we back to a golf course and there are a few pine trees between the house and the 7th tee) but we didn’t see anyone out there when we ran outside to see what had made the crashing sound we had heard, and there were no people detected on our ring camera.”

“I have spent the past 24 hours learning all about meteorites. There is no fusion crust and it only weighs 130 grams and measures 6 cm x6cm x7 cm and is 3cm high. We pretty much concluded it is an earth rock based on those factors!”

“Unfortunately that means that mischievous kids, probably young teens or preteens, thought it would be fun to break someone’s window!”

Here’s the rock and, yes, it does not have a fusion crust.
I received these photos with the following explanation: “…these are things that have actually fallen in my mothers yard. Making HUGE intentions in the growing and breaking her flower pots etc. not just things that were found.”  I do not know whether they attract a magnet. There is no rust and they do not have the dark patina characteristic of iron meteorites. I suspect space debris or possibly airplane parts.

“I would like to get your opinion on these pictures, showing a piece of rock that destroyed a huge chimney. This meteorite weighs 700 grams and it’s not attracted by a magnet.”

The chimney, the damage, and the alleged 700-g culprit. The rock is not a meteorite – there is no fusion crust. But how could that little rock do all that damage?

These 2 photos were sent with the simple message, “These hit my garage door.” The rocks (left) do not look like meteorites but they did hit the garage door (right) hard enough to do some damage.

This photo was sent with the simple message “It fell through my dad’s windshield in the 70’s.” I’m sure it did, but it’s not a meteorite. It’s about the right size for throwing, though.

I’ve lost the story about this one, but a rather strange looking rock hit the wooden deck hard enough to make a hole in the deck and shatter the rock. Once again, there is no fusion crust.

“A little more than thirty years ago, I went to my vacation house in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania and discovered a puncture hole in my roof that went through the shingles and the ½’’ thick plywood sheathing and then through the ¼ ‘ wooden soffit below. The hole in the roof plywood was punctured inward, and the soffit was punctured outward, indicating whatever caused the damage came from above. Directly below the exit hole of the soffett lying on the ground was the rock shown in the photos.”

The rock is a cobble with no fusion crust. It is not a meteorite.

From Grand Junction, Colorado: “…my husband Ed heard a very loud sound. He says it sounded like a very loud gunshot…Today, October 1, we noticed a large rock sitting in our xeriscaped river rock bed. We have never seen this rock sitting in the rock bed before.”

The rock appears to be a vesicular volcanic rock that has been rounded by abrasion against other rocks, as do the rocks of the rock bed. There is no fusion crust so it is not a freshly fallen meteorite. I asked if it might have rolled down a mountain slope and was assured that it had not.

A story from England: “At some time around 3-4pm we were sat overlooking the estuary when we both heard a sound as if a fighter jet was rapidly approaching from behind and to our right. We both instinctively turned our heads, only to witness an object traveling at phenomenal speed cutting through the air in a diagonal trajectory, disappearing behind the trees in front of us and straight into the estuary. The sound was akin to air being cut as if by a whip, like white noise but with a slight whistling tone. The whole thing probably lasted only a couple of seconds.

We were very perplexed by what we saw but it didn’t cross our minds until later that the only plausible explanation would be a meteorite. With this in mind and with the knowledge that the estuary is tidal, we decided to return to try and recover the object. It was a few days before we were able to return to the site at the right time and conditions. The estuary at this point is light mud, sand and light stones around the perimeter. We had a search area of at least 200 x 50 metres. We started to lose hope when Lyndsey found a stone which was notably different to the rest in the area and had no weathering.”

This is the rock that the sender found after the event. I think that it is possible that they witnessed a meteorite fall, but I think that this rock is not the meteorite. There is no fusion crust and the surface texture is too rough for a freshly fallen meteorite.

From Canada: “Hello, a meteorite fall on my irrigation pond the January 28 2022. … It’s broke 40 cm thickness of ice and rift over 20m. The biggest hole are 1m x 1.5m. I found fragments of the same type exactly where all the holes was. … All pictures are the same type of meteorite. … Just need an analyse to confirm everything.”

On the right is a photo of one of the recovered rocks. It is not a meteorite. The surface texture is much too rough for a meteorite, there is no fusion crust, and there is a hint of layering. None of the other rocks looked like meteorites either. Perhaps a meteorite did make the hole in the ice, but none of the recovered rocks is a meteorite.

The person who sent this photo was moose hunting in northern Alberta in 2006. “I heard a loud impact on a tree and brush rustling toward me when this debris came out a couple meters from me and rolled away from me. As I walked up to it I could hear a sizzling sound. I put my hand down near it but was surprised that it was cold.”

The rock does not look like a freshly fallen meteorite. The crust is not a meteorite fusion crust and the rock is too reddish to be a freshly fallen meteorite. It looks like a weathered iron-oxide concretion that was formed by deposition of successive layers of hematite. The finder had it cut in two and the inside is solid, fine-grained reddish hematite. This is another case where the recovered rock may not be the rock that made the noise.

“A rare rock fell at my house and made a big whole in my ceiling. I would like to know if is a meteorite.” No, it is not. It is just a rock. There is no fusion crust.
These three photos were sent to me (by someone outside the U.S, I suspect) only with only the text: “Is it possible?this rock is a meteorite(it non magnetic)”. Well, the rock actually looks something like a lunar meteorite, but there is no fusion crust and the surface looks a bit like weathered, so I think that it is not a freshly fallen meteorite.

Another real meteorite: Winchcombe, England

On February 28, 2021, a bright fireball was seen by 1000+ observers over England, Ireland, and northern Europe. The Wilcock family of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England, heard a noise that evening (21:54 local time) but did not discover until the next morning that one of the stones had landed on their driveway. Between February 26 and April 1 hundreds of fragments (602 g total) of the meteorite were found along the strewn field, an 8-km (5-mile) long, west-to-east linear track from Bishop’s Cleeve to Winchcombe. Full story here: Winchcombe. The meteorite, a rare carbonaceous chondrite (CM2), is only the 23rd meteorite to have been found in England and one of only 21 CM chondrites to have been observed as a fall.

Left: Hannah, Rob, and Cathryn Wilcock enjoying the splat in their driveway. Right: The splat; 319 g of material was recovered from the driveway and lawn. Carbonaceous chondrites are very friable (easy to break) and have the consistency of a charcoal briquette. Image credits: UK Meteorite Network
Left: A fragment of the Winchcombe meteorite (size=?). Note the small patch of adhering fusion crust. Image credit: Natural History Museum, London. Right: Another piece of Winchcombe (152-g) found on March 6 in a field 1.5-2 miles away. Note that fusion crust covers most of what we can see. Image credit: finder Mira Ihasz.