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“I’ll Be Back” and East Coast Meteorites: Remembering 30 years ago with Peekskill.

Peekskill meteorite slice

This 22g slice of the Peekskill meteorite from the author’s collection contains rich crust, and enough matrix to see just how much action is going on inside this H6 stone.

About 100 miles separates Titusville, NJ and Peekskill, NY. So why does that matter? Well in 1992, those of us who got excited about meteorites back then were able to follow the events surrounding the fall of the Peekskill meteorite. And the Peekskill meteorite was preceded by the Peekskill fireball that was captured by no less than 16 video cameras. Now 1992 was over 30 years ago, and there were far fewer video cameras back then. But still, it was a very well documented event.

Cut to today, and the dust is still settling on the Titusville meteorite event where a chondrite of the LL class is accused of breaking and entering a residence in the Hopewell Township of New Jersey. The slightly sub-kg stone has a classic look with rich black fusion crust and a milky white matrix mixed with darker regions and what look like shock veins. And frankly, of all the varieties of meteorites, this new fall has some visual similarities to the matrix of the Peekskill stone.

In both cases, the initial discoverer of the meteorite reported it being warm to the touch. This phenomenon is challenged by science, but is still commonly reported by the finders. Whether a real or perceived sensory experience, history leans towards the former while physics points towards the latter. And NASA is convinced that freshly fallen meteorites cannot pop corn upon arrival.

Thirty years from now will be 2053. Imagine at that time that a stone meteorite crashes into a man-made object like a house or car, in the heavily populated northeast USA. When that happens, you will be thinking about it the same way I am thinking about Titusville now having experienced the thrill of the Peekskill event. Hard to imagine, I know, because the world will be in a very different situation in 2053. There’s an average chance I’ll still be around then, so stay tuned for a follow up to this article in three decades.

Until next time….

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