ALDSWORTH, Gloucestershire, Stone(LL5), fell 1835
APPLEY BRIDGE, Lancashire, Stone(LL6), fell 1914
ASHDON, Essex. Stone (L6), fell 1923
BARWELL, Leicestershire, Stones(L6), fell 1965
BASINGSTOKE, Hampshire, Stone (doubtful), fell 1806
BEESTON, Nottinghamshire, Stones (doubtful), fell 1780
DANEBURY, Wessex, Stone(H6), found 1974
EAST NORTON, Leicestershire, Stone (doubtful), fell 1803
GLASTONBURY, Somerset, Stone (doubtful), fell 1806
GLATTON, Cambridgeshire. Stone(L5), fell 1991
HAMBLETON, Yorkshire, Pallasite, find 2005
HARROGATE, Yorkshire, Stone (doubtful), fell 1842
HATFORD, Berkshire. Stones(type?), fell 1628
LAUNTON, Oxfordshire, Stone (L6), fell 1830
MALPAS, Cheshire, (doubtful) fell 1813
MIDDLESBROUGH Yorkshire, Stone (L6), fell 1881
MIXBURY, Oxfordshire, Stone (doubtful), fell 1725
ROWTON, Shropshire, Iron(IIIA), fell 1876
STRETCHLEIGH, Devonshire, fell 1623
WOLD COTTAGE, Yorkshire, Stone (L6), Fell 1795
WOODBRIDGE, Suffolk, Stone (doubtful), fell 1642
YORKSHIRE Yorkshire, Stone (doubtful), fell 1360
Westcote, writing about the same period, related the occurrence in almost the same words. "In some part of this manor (Strechley) there fell from above, 1625*[a probable misprint for 1623]--I cannot say from heaven--a stone of twenty-three pounds weight, with a great and fearful noise in falling, first it was heard like unto thunder, or rather to be thought the report of some great ordnance, cannon, or culverin; and as it descended so did the noise lessen, at last, when it came to the earth, to the height of the report of a peternel, or pistol. It was for matter like unto a stone singed, or half burnt for lime; but being larger described by a richer wit, I will forbear to enlarge on it."*[A view of Devonshire in 1630, by Thomas Westcote, gent., Oliver's Ed. Exeter, 1845, pp. 391, 392.]
The "richer wit" here alluded to was, in all probability, the author of a pamphlet published at the time, which further describes this aerolite as having fallen on January 10th, 1623, in an orchard, near some men who were planting trees. It was buried in the ground three feet deep, and its dimensions were three feet and a half in length, two feet and a half in breadth, and one foot and a half in thickness. The pamphlet states that pieces broken from off it were in the possession of many of the neighbouring gentry. Lysons*[Lysons' Magna Britannia. vol. vi, pt. 2; Devon, pp. 175, 176.] adds that this pamphlet (which I have unfortunately never been able to obtain) also describes three suns seen at Tregony, in Cornwall, in 1622, and this circumstance is important, as thowing some light upon two doubtful entries referred to under the dates 1622 and 1723. In 1869 I called especial attention to the Ermington meteorite in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association*[vol. III, pp. 75, 78.] in the hope of obtaining some clue as to the subsequent history of any of these portions, but so far, my enquiries have been unsuccessful. From the description it is highly improbable that it could have been an iron meteorite, and from comparing the weight with the size it would appear that either the latter must have been very much exaggerated by the writer of the pamphlet, or that Risdon and Westcote must have been mistaken in the weight.
The following accounts of two stones that fell from the sky being to similar to the account of the late phaenomenon in Yorkshire, and as they have escaped both Mr. King's and Mr. Bingley's investigations on the subject; I shall give it you from two pamphlets, printed at the time, without farther apology.
"Look up and see a new wonder. The name of the town is Hatford, in Berkshire, some eight miles from Oxford, April 9, 1628, about 5 of the clock in the afternoon. The weather was warm, without any great show of distemperature; a gentle gale of wind from West to N.W.; in an instant was heard first a hideous rumbling in the air, and presently after followed a strange and fearful peal of thunder; it maintained the fashion of a fought battle. It began thus: first, for an onset, went off one great cannon as it were of thunder alone, like a warning-piece to the rest that were to follow. Then, a little while after, was heard a second; until the number of 20 were discharged, or thereabout.
"In some little distance of time after this, was audibly heard the sound of a drum, beating a retreat. Amongst all these angry peals shot off from heaven, at the end of the report of every crack, a hizzing noise made way through the air, not unlike the flying of bullets from the mouth of great ordnance, and by judgement were thunderbolts; for one of them was seen by many people to fall at a place called Bawlkin Green, being a mile and a half from Hatford; which thunderbolt was by one Mistress Greene caused to be digged out of the ground, she being an eye-witness amongst many others of the manner of the falling.
"The form of the stone is three-square, and picked at the end; in colour outwardly blackish, somewhat like iron; crusted over with that blackness about the thickness of a shilling; within it is soft, mixed with some kind of mineral, shining like small pieces of glass. This stone broke in the fall. The whole piece is in weight nineteen pound and a half, the greater piece that fell off weigheth five pound, which, with other small pieces being put together, make four and twenty pound and better. It is in the country credibly reported, that other thunder-stones have been found in other places; but for certainly there was one taken up at Letcombe, and is now in the custody of the sheriff." [9 Y b] This account is shortened that it may not take up too much room in your pages.
(note the letter continues with a report of the woodbridge fall, the second pamphlet mentioned at the start, which I have included under its appropriate entry)
On Wednesday before Easter, being the ninth of April, about six of the clock, in the afternoon, there was such a noise in the air, and after such a strange manner, as the oldest man alive never heard the like. And it began as followeth:-- First, as it were, one piece of ordnance went off alone. Then, after that, a little distance, two more, and then they went as thick as ever I heard a volley of shot in all my life; and after that, as it were the sound of a drum, to the amazement of me, your mother, and a hundred more besides; yet this is not all; but as it is reported, there fell divers stones, but two is certain in our knowledge. The one fell at Chalows, half a mile off, and the other at Barking five miles off. Your mother was at the place where one of them fell knee-deep, till it came at the very rock, and when it came at the hard rock it broke, and being weighed, all the pieces together, six & twenty pounds. The other that was taken up in the other place weighed half a tod, 14 pound."
I do not know whether there may be any other record of this remarkable aerolite, so simply but graphically described. Is it not just possible that some of the fragments may yet be preserved in the neighbourhood of its fall? At any rate a search would involve but little trouble.
This fall took place about 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon, and by comparison of various accounts, seems to have spread over a large area. Mr T.W. Webb directs attention to a letter preserved in Wallington's Historical Notices i,13 which was written in 1628 by Mr John Hoskins, dwelling at Wantage, to his son-in-law Mr Dawson, a gun-smith, dwelling in the Minories without Aldgate, relating to the fall of these meteorites. Describing the explosion, Hoskins says:- "It began as followeth: First, as it were, one piece of ordnance went off alone. Then, after that, a little distance, two more, and then they went as thick as ever I heard a volley of shot in all my life; and after that, as it were the sound of a drum..... Yet this is not all; but as it is reported, there fell divers stones, but two is certain in our knowledge. The one fell at Chalows, half a mile off (from Wantage), and the other at Barking five miles off. Your mother was at the place where one of them fell knee-deep, till it came to the very rock, and when it came at the hard rock it broke, and being weighed, all the pieces together, six & twenty pounds. The other that was taken up at the other place weighed half a tod, 14 LBS.
During my researches I found out that the village of Balking was an ancient market town the reference does not say from how early on, but mentions that in 1219 the market day changed from Thursday to Tuesday; and that it had, however ceased to be held before 1792.
Looke Vp and See Wonders: a miraculous Apparition in the Ayre, lately seen in Barke-shire at Bawlkin Greene, neere Hatford, 9th April 1628. (Imprinted at London for Roger Mitchell.)It begins as follows--
So Benummed wee are in our Sences, that albeit God himselfe Holla in our Eares, wee by our Wills are loath to heare him. His dreadfull Pursiuants of Thunder and Lightning terrifie vs so long as they have vs in their fingers, but beeing off, wee dance and sing in the midst of our Follies.Then, proceeding to his task, the author tells how
the foure great quarter-masters of the World (the fours Elements)... have bin in ciuill warres one against another. . . . As for Fire, it hath denied of late to warme vs, but at vnreasonable rates, and extreame hard conditions. But what talke I of this earthy nourishment of fire? How have the Fires of Heaven (some few years past) gone beyond their bounds, and appeared in the shapes of Comets and Blazing Starres? . . . The Aire is the shop of Thunder and Lightning. In that, hath of late bin held a Muster of terrible enemies(*) and threatners of Vengeance, which the great Generall of the Field, who Conducts and Commands all such Armies (God Almighty, I means) auert from our Kingdome, and shoote the arrowes of his indignation some other way, upon the bosomes of those that would confound his Gospell. . . . Many windowes hath he set open in Heaven, to shewe what Artillery hee has lying there, and many of our Kings have trembled, when they were shewne vnto them. What blazing Starres (euen at Noone-dayes) in those times hung houering in the Aire? How many frightfull Ecclipses both of Sun and Moone? . . . It is not for man to dispute with God, why he has done this so often . . . but, with feare and trembling casting our eyes vp to Heauen, let us now behold him, bending his Fist onely, as lately he did to the terrour and affrightment of all the Inhabitants dwelling within a Towne in the County of Barkshire. . . . The name of the Towne is Hatford, some eight miles from Oxford. Ouer this Towne, vpon Wensday being the ninth of this instant Moneth of April 1628, about five of the clocke in the afternoone this miraculous, prodigious, and fearefull handyworke of God was presented. . . . The weather was warme, and without any great shewe of distemperature, only the skye waxed by degrees a little gloomy, yet not so darkened but that the Sunne still and anon, by the power of the brightnesse, brake through the thicke clouds. . . .Footnotes
A gentle gale of wind then blowing from betweene the West and Northwest, in an instant was heard, first a hideous rumbling in the Ayre, and presently after followed a strange and feare-full peal of Thunder, running up and downe these parts of the Countrey, but it strake with the loudest violence, and more furious tearing of the Ayre, about a place called The White Horse Hill, than in any other. The whole order of this thunder carried a kind of Maiesticall state with it, for it maintayned (to the offrighted Beholders' seeming) the fashion of a fought Battaile.
It beganne thus: First, for an onset, went off one great Cannon as it were of thunder alone, like a warning peece to the rest that were to follow. Then a little while after was heard a second; and so by degrees a third, vntill the number of 20 were discharged (or there-abouts) in very good order, though in very great terror.
In some little distance of time after this was audibly heard the sound of a Drum beating a Retreate. Amongst all these angry peales shot off from Heauen, this begat a wonderful admiration, that at the end of the report of euery cracke, or Cannon-thundering, a hizzing Noyse made way through the Ayre, not unlike the flying of Bullets from the mouthes of great Ordnance; and by the judgment of all the terror-striken witnesses they were Thunder-bolts. For one of them was seene by many people to fall at a place called Bawlkin Greene, being a mile and a half from Hatford: Which Thunder-bolt was by one Mistris Greene caused to be digged out of the ground, she being an eyewitnesse, amongst many other, of the manner of the falling.
The form of the Stone is three-square, and picked in the end: In colour outwardly blackish, somewhat like Iron: crusted over with that blacknesse about the thicknesse of a shilling. Within it is a soft, of a gray colour, mixed with some kind of minerall, shining like small peeces of glasse.
This Stone brake in the fal: The whole peece is in weight nineteene pound and a halfe: The greater peece that fell off weigheth five pound, which with other small peeces being put together, make foure and twenty pound and better. . . .
It is in the Countrey credibly reported that some other Thunderstones (*) have bin found in other places: But for certainty there was one tapen vp at Letcombe, and is now in the custody of the Shriefe.
(*) Dr. Flight is of opinion that this is the earliest use of this term, which is found in the beautiful song of "Guiderius and Arviragus," Cymbeline, Act iv. Scene 2.
"Upon Thursday the 4th of this instant August , about the hour of four or five o'clock in the afternoon, there was a wonderful noise heard in the air, as of a drum beating most fiercely, which after a while was seconded with a long peal of small shot, and after that a discharging as it were of great ordnance in a pitched field. This continued with some vicissicudes for the space of one hour and a half, and then making a mighty and violent report together; at the ceasing thereof there was observed to fall down out of the sky a stone of about four pound weight, which was taken up by them who saw it fall, and, being both strange for the form of it and some what miraculours for the manner of it, was by the same parties, who are ready to attest this truth, brought up and shewed to a worthy member of the House of Commons upon whose ground it was taken up, and by him to divers friends, who have both seen and handled the same. Now, the manner of finding the stone was on this wise: one Captain Johusson and one Master Thompson, men well known in that part of Suffolk, were that day at Woodbridge, about the launching of a ship that was newly builded there; who, hearing this marvellous noise toward Alborow, verily supposed that some enemy was landed, and some sudden onset made upon the town of Alborow; this occasioned them to take horse and hasten homewards, the rather because they heard the noise of the battle grow louder. And being at that instant, when that greatest crack and report was made in conclusion, on their way upon an heath betwix the two towns, Woodbridge and Alborow, they observed the fall of this stone, which, grazing in the fall of it along upon the heath some six or severn yards, had outrun their observation where it rested, had not a dog, which was in the company, followed is by the scent, as it was hot, and brought them where it lay covered over with grass and earth, that the violence of its course had contracted about it. This is the true relation of the finding of the stone, which is eight inches long, and five inches broad, and two inches thick. And now, being on their way nearer Alborow, they met the greatest part of the town's folk, who were generally all run out of their houses round about, amazed with this noise of war, and descrying no enemy near; when suddenly there was heard a joyful noise as of musick, and sundry instruments in a melodious manner, for a good space together, which ended with an harmonious ringing of bells. This is the true relation of this most strange sign from heaven." [12 Gg 67]
203. Remarks concerning Stones said to have fallen from the Clouds, Both in these Days and in ancient Times. By Edward King, Esq. F.R.S. and F.A.S
"Several persons at Wold Cottage, in Yorkshire, Dec. 13, 1795, heard various noises in the air, like pistols, or distant guns at sea, felt two distinct concussions of the earth, and heard a hissing noise passing through the air; and a labouring man plainly saw (as we are told) that something was so passing, and beheld a stone, as it seemed at last, (about 10 yards, or 30 feet, distant from the ground), descending, and striking into the ground, which flew up all about him, and, in falling, sparks of fire seemed to fly from it. Afterwards he went to the place, in common with others who had witnessed part of the phaenomenon, and dug the stone up from the place where it was buried about 21 inches deep. it smelled, as is said, very strongly of sulphur when it was dug up, and was even warm, and smoked. It was said to be 30 inches in length, and 28 ½ in breadth, and it weighed 56lb. Such is the account*. I affirm nothing; neither do I pretend either absolutely to believe or to disbelieve. I have not an opportunity to examine the whole of the evidence. But it may be examined; so I leave it to be" (p. 22).
* In a printed paper, drawn up by a well-known writer (Captain Topham), on a half-sheet, at the head of which is a representation of the stone, given to those who have the curiosity to examine the stone itself, now exhibiting in London.
Extract, (no author) from Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 1803, page 191. Extract, from R.P. Greg's catalogue (1860)
On the 4th instant (July) a ball of fire struck the White Bull, public-house, kept by John Hubbard at East Norton. The chimney was thrown down by it, the roof in part torn off, the windows shattered to atoms, and the dairy, pantry, etc converted into a heap of rubbish. It appeared like a luminous ball of considerable magnitude; and, on coming in contact with the house, exploded with a great noise and a very oppresive sulphurous smell. Some fragments of this ball were found near the spot, and subjected to chemical analysis by a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who found them to consist of the same ingredients as those stones of similar origin analysed by Mr. Howard and other chemists, and nearly in the same proportions. The surface of these stones is of a dark colour, and varnished as if by fusion. From some indentures on the surface it appears probable that the ball was soft when it descended; and it was obviously in a state of ignition, as the grass, etc is burnt up where the fragments fell. Its motion while in the air was very rapid, and apparently parallel to the horizon.
meteor and detonation; struck a building; electricial?. Rather a curious account in Encyclopaedia Britannica. More like an electric ball, and yet a vitrified stone found containing nickeliferous iron. A little doubtful perhaps if meteoric.
A hard body, supposed to be of the nature of a meteoric stone, fell, during a hard thunder-storm, into a window at Glastonbury about a month ago.
"Copy of a notice of the Meteorite entered in the Book of Donations of the Permanemt Library, Cirencester, by the late Mr. Arnold Merrick, Curator to the Museum.--'A specimen of a meteorite which fell about half a mile from Aldsworth in a field occupied by Mr. Waine, within twenty yards of his workmen, who were sitting against a wall at the time, on the 4th of August 1835, a sunny afternoon without a cloud. A meteor was seen at Cirencester proceeding eastward, and a remarkable noise was heard at half-past 4 in the afternoon. The noise was heard in most parts adjacent.
"'The workman saw no unusual light, but heard the aerolite rush through the air, and felt it shake the ground by striking it with great violence. It fell on a swarth of oats, and drove the straw before it down into the earth for six inches, till opposed by rock. When the men got it up, it was not hot, but the part of the surface which appeared not to have been broken was quite black and soiled the fingers. It weighs about 9270 grains. It contains a great deal of iron, but is not magnetic. Its specific gravity is 3.4.
"'Mr. Waine states that a shower of small pieces fell about half a mile south of the spot where this fell. Children thought it was a shower of black beetles, and held out their hands to catch them as they fell.'
My niece, Miss Anna Sophia Brown, now Mrs Pooley, about 4 p.m. on the same day, being in her father's garden at Cirencester, perceived a meteor passing from W. to E., apparently about twice the height of Cirencester tower, which is upwards of 100 feet high, looking like a copper ball larger than an orange [?], and having a tail or stream of light behind it. In its passage it made a rumbling noise heard by many persons, reminding her of thunder, and the people of the town marvelled that it should thunder in a serene day with a cloudless sky. On the same day at Aldsworth, 13 miles E. of Cirencester, the meteoric stone fell, the particulars of which are before given.
"Thos. C. Brown."
X. THE ROWTON SIDERITE.
The metallic mass which I shall next proceed to describe is one of unusual interest in more than one respect: in the first place, before it fell only one iron meteorite was known to have fallen in Great Britain, while eight stony meteorites that have fallen in the British islands are in the national collection; and, secondly, of the more than 300 meteorites which are contained in the collection in the Natural History Museum, more than 100 are unquestionably iron meteorites, and of these the fall of seven only has been witnessed.
The circumstances attending the fall of the Rowton iron are as follows. At about 20 minutes to 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 20th of April, 1876, a strange rumbling noise was heard in the atmosphere, followed almost instantaneously by a startling explosion resembling a discharge of heavy artillery. There was neither lightning nor thunder, but rain was falling heavily, the sky being obscured with dark clouds for some time both before and after the incident related. About an hour after the explosion Mr. George Brooks had occasion to go to a turf field in his occupation adjoining the Wellington and Market Drayton Railway, about a mile north of the Wrekin, when his attention was attracted to a hole cut in the ground. The land where it fell, it should be stated, is part of the property of the Duke of Cleveland, at Rowton, near Wellington, in Shropshire; and Mr. Ashdown, the agent of the Duke, exerted himself in the matter, and obtained his Grace's assent to the meteorite being presented to the trustees of the British Museum.
As regards the hole which was found in the field, Mr. Brooks probed the opening with a stick and discovered a lump of metal of irregular shape, which proved to be a meteorite, weighing 7 ¾ lbs. It had penetrated to a depth of 18 inches, passing through 4 inches of soil and 14 inches of solid clay down to the gravel. The hole is nearly perpendicular, but the stone appears to have fallen in a south-easterly direction. Some men were at work at the time within a short distance, and they, together with many other people in the neighbourhood, heard the noise of explosion. According to other observers, the sound was heard as of something falling during a heavy shower of rain, accompanied by a hissing and then a rumbling noise. It is, moreover, stated that when Mr. Brooks found the mass "it was quite warm." Mr. Wills described it as being black on the surface and apparently covered with a scale of metallic oxides; but at the point where it impinged on the earth the oxides had been removed, and the metallic character of the mass had been revealed.
When the meteorite reached the British Museum it was at once seen that it was wholly metallic in structure and was covered with a very thin pellicle of the jet-black magnetic oxide of iron, and only where this had been removed by abrasion with the soil is the bright metallic surface of the nickel-iron revealed. The depth to which the meteorite penetrated the soil is proof of how much momentum still remained to it, partly due, no doubt, to the approximately vertical direction with which it entered the atmosphere, and in some degree to the higher density of an iron mass as compared with one of stone, the rocky meteorites rarely penetrating to so considerable a depth. The meteorite closely resembles the siderite of Nedagolla, in India, as Professor Story-Maskelyne, M.P., F.R.S., has pointed out.
The chemical analysis that followed has been omitted, and I don't yet have a copy of the drawing that was reproduced in the report
During the past year a very beautiful specimem of a meteorite fell near Middlesborough, at a spot called Pennyman's Siding on the North-Eastern Railway Company's branch-line from Middlesborough to Guisborough, about one mile and three-quarters from the former town. Its descent was witnessed by W. Ellinor and three plate-layers, who heard a whizzing or rushing noise in the air, followed in a second or two by a sudden blow of a body striking the ground not far from them; the spot was found to be 48 yards from where they stood. The fall took place at 3.35 P.M. on the 14th March, 1881. No luminous or cloud-forming phenomena are reported. According to Prof. Alexander Herschel, who at once visited the spot, the fall appears to have been nearly vertical. The stone was "new-milk warm" when found, and weighed 3 lb. 8¼ oz.; the crust is very perfect and of an unusual thickness, and has scarcely suffered by the fall. The stone forms a low pyramid, slightly scolloped or conchoidal-looking, 6¼ inches in length, 5 inches wide, and 3 inches in height. The rounded summit and sloping sides are scored and deeply grooved, with a polish like black lead in waving furrows running to the base, showing that this side came foremost during the whole of the fusing action of the atmosphere which the meteorite underwent in its flight. The base is equally fused by heat, but is rough, dull brown in colour, and not scored or furrowed. The stone penetrated the soil to a depth of eleven inches. From experiments made by Professor Herschel. he calculates that it struck the ground with a velocity of 412 feet per second. As it would acquire this velocity by falling freely through half a mile, it is evident that little of the original planetary speed with which it entered the atmosphere can have remained over.
A METEORITIC FALL IN LANCASHIRE
On Tuesday evening, October 13, at 8.45, the inhabitants of Lancashire and Cheshire were alarmed by a sudden and vivid illumination of the heavens caused by a ball of fire moving. slowly from about S.S.E. to N.N.W. It lit up the whole countryside and consisted of several outbursts, the final one being the brightest flash. Then a short interval afterwards, the estimated periods varying from a few seconds to four minutes, according to the distances of the observers, there was a tremendous report, as though a thunder-like explosion had occurred in the region a few miles west of Wigan.
This was followed by a series of rumblings extending apparently back along the flight of the luminous object. At several places the windows are stated to have been shaken, and the vibration was such that it presented some similarity to an earthquake shock.
Numbers of persons in Manchester, Liverpool, Halifax, Northwich, Bolton, Macelesfield, and other towns witnessed the event and heard the noise, and in the present agitated state of the public mind, all sorts of ideas were formed as to the nature of the phenomenon.
A large detonating meteor had, notwithstanding the rather cloudy state of the atmosphere, not only penetrated the lower region of the air, but had resisted complete disruption and fallen to the ground. It was discovered on the following day at Appley Bridge, four miles W.N.W. of Wigan. An employee of Mr. Lyon of Halliwell Farm noticed a newly turned up mound in a field and on examination, he saw a reddish mass of strange material lying in a hole about 18 in. below the surface. On being dug out the object weighed about 33 lbs. and in appearance looked like rough piece of burnt iron. Subsequently, the county police took possession of the strange visitor, and it has since been handed over to curator of the Godlee Observatory, Manchester for proper investigation.
My preliminary discussion of the first observations received indicated that the meteor penetrated to a point so low in the air that it probably fell in the region twenty miles west of Manchester This conclusion was mentioned in a letter to the Manchester papers, and the discovery of the meteorite a few miles west of Wigan fully justified the prediction. Several of the observers say that the object lost its luminosity when still at an apparently considerable height. This appears to show that the motion had so far slackened that combustion had visibly ceased, and the object fell to the ground in an opaque, cooling; condition. Evidence of this is also furnished by its penetrating; the soil to a depth of only 18 in. Several well-observed meteoritic falls have been of merely terrestrial velocity amounting to 400 or 500 ft. a second, which is something different from the velocity of 26 miles a second possessed by these bodies in planetary space. The descent of objects of this class is often vertical or nearly so, and their original velocity and direction are apparently quite changed by the new conditions impressed on them during their disruption when very near the earth's surface.
I have collected a large number of observations of the flight of the object, from which it appears that its direction was from about azimuth 335°, counted west from south, or from S.S.E. to N.N.W, and the probable radiant was at 348° + 2° in the western region of Pisces. The course of the meteor was from near Stoke to the place of its fall, a length of 49 miles traversed at a velocity of about 8 miles a second. The height declined from 29 miles to 0.
The object is said to have made a slanting hole in the ground, and this would accord with an angle of some 37°, which a radiant at 348° + 2° would indicate. But the angle of the meteor's descent must have probably become much steeper after its entry into our atmosphere as an effect of the resistance encountered and terrestrial attraction. Several disruptions of its material undoubtedly occurred before the final outburst; these reduced the size and varied the shape of the object and may well have influenced the line of flight.
The radiant in Pisces yields many fireballs in September, and one was seen by many observers on September 8 last. Daniel's comet of 1907 has an orbit which approaches near the earth's orbit on September 12 and may possibly be responsible for some of the large meteors observed in September and at a later period.
Previous meteoric falls have occurred as follows
in England, and I give the last recorded case in
1795 December 13, Wold Cottage, 56 lbs.
1830 February 15, Launton.
1835 August 4, Aldsworth.
1876 April 20, Rowton, 7 ¾ lbs.
1881 March 14, Middlesbrough, 3 ½ lbs.
1902 September 13, Crumlin, Ireland, 9 ½ lbs.
W. F. DENNING.
The Appley Bridge Meteorite.
In Nature of November 5, 1914, Mr. W. F. Denning gave an account of the meteorite of October 13, 1914, in which he mentions that the object had been found, and was then at the Godlee Observatory, Manchester.
The object which fell at Appley Bridge belongs to the aerolites or stony meteorites, and not to the siderites or irons. In appearance there is the striking meteoric features of deep thumb marks--piezoglyphs-and the general coating a dark brown to black. This was in distinct contrast to the interior, which was of a light grey colour. In general the figure gave one the impression of its being a segment of a spherical shell, the dimensions being:
Length ... ... ... 9.65 in. Depth ... ... ... 9.13 " Width or thickness ... ... 6.62 "The longest diagonal measurement gave 10.76 in. When the aerolite reached the Godlee Observatory, it was in two pieces, weighing 28 lb. 13 oz.; and showed evident signs that some considerable portions had been broken away since its discovery.
The very friable nature of the mass was such that portions could be readily broken off by the thumb and fingers, and it is to this softness of texture that its losses are due, as the weight at the time of discovery was given as more than 30 lb.
It is certainly a remarkable object, as on a comparison with the list of meteorites recorded in Great Britain, published in the British Museum Guide to Meteorites, there is only one given of greater weight, that fell at Wold Cottage in Yorkshire in 1795.
The outer coating, which varies from a very thin film to nearly 2 mm. in thickness, presents a very finely-pitted surface, with evidence of a tendency to show lines of movement, as though the heated skin was being pushed backwards from the direction of motion. The portions which had become fused showed a dark glazed or shiny surface, this evidently being the forward end, and the portion to which the heat from the compressed air in front of it was most effective. The appearance of the pittings suggest that the heating of the surface was the means of liberating some portions of the structure of the mass, and that these would provide what is seen as the trail of the meteor after it has passed in its flight through the air, being the continued glow of the heated emissions by combination with the oxygen in the air.
There is evidence that some portions of the surface had only come into contact with the air during the later portion of its traverse. These regions have all the appearance of flakes of the outer skin having been broken away, a slight tarnishing of the pyrites, if at a distance from the edge of the fracture or slight fusing when close to the general outer coating, indicating a removal of portions of outer layers of the mass.
This is quite in keeping with the assumption that the fragments were split off at the time of the apparent burst in the air, at about twenty miles' altitude, as from that position the speed of the meteor would be so much reduced by the compressional friction, that it would be losing more heat than gaining.
The fractured surface on an inspection appeared to be made up of a glittering mass of white and yellow points in a grey setting. These proved to be chiefly pyrites, and their presence accounted far the apparent great weight according to the size. The specific gravity of the mass determined from a fragment was 3.33, and is in accord with what would be expected from the mineralogical contents. A magnetic examination of the mass as a whole gave no appreciable effect, although a search amongst the dust which accumulated from the rubbing of the two pieces, indicated portions of magnetic nature though small in amount which proved to be metallic iron.
The pyritic material contains nickel as well as iron, portions being crystalline, the olivine being of a pale yellowish-green colour, whilst the enstatite is whitish or grey.
The proportions of the minerals worked out on the basis of the composition and solubility are approximately :--
Pyritic and metallic matter ... ... 5.07 Enstatite ... ... ... ... 31.5 Olivine ... ... ... ... 63.43The analysis which has been made by Mr. E. L. Rhead indicate the presence of the following in order of amount :--
|Silica ...||SiO2||Phosphorus ... ...||P|
|Magnesia ...||MgO||Soda potash|
|Iron ... ...||Fe||Chlorine|
|Alumina ...||Al2O3||Lime, etc.|
|Sulphur ...||S||With oxygen in combina-|
WILLIAM C. JENKINS.
Part of the meteor which (rumoured to be an airship) caused such sensation throughout Lancashire and Cheshire the week before last has been found in a field in the Wigan district. The brilliance of the meteor was especially noted in the Douglas valley, and the "remnants" of a meteor have been found on the land of Mr. Eric Lyon, of Halliwell Farm, Appley Bridge. It is said to be very heavy for its size, and has the appearance of iron which has been much burned, and small fragments of it taken between the fingers and rubbed would crumble. On rubbing the outer soft crust off, veins of what looked like gold and silver were seen. Superintendent Kelly, of the Wigan County Poice force, went over to the farm and took possession of the meteorite on behalf of Mr. H. H. Lane, the Chief Constable of Lancashire. Afterwards a small fragment which had been detached from the larger mass was put on view in a shop-window at Appley Bridge. Superintendent Kelly says the piece he took charge of weighs some 30 lb. On the outside it is dark brown in colour like rusty iron, and is covered with a sort of burnt powder. Inside the colour is light grey, with spots of gold and bright-coloured metals. It was taken to Preston to the county police headquarters for investigation and examination. Dr: J. H. Wilson, the medical officer for the district, describes the meteorite as being like a 'large stone,' irregular in shape, and externally of a redish colour, similar to the appearance of rusty irorn or of iron drawn from a fire. It is also very friable, he says, and pieces can be broken from it by the fingers alone. Internally the prevailing colour is that of French grey, the material being of varying hardness, and some parts having the resemblance of lead.
The Wigan Meteorite
--In view of the interest which has been evinced in the Wigan meteorite by Mr. Godden and other readers, I thought the enclosed photograph of this interesting object might be acceptable for reproduction in "Ours." It clearly shows the pitted surface, and its curious shape. Writing to Mr Lane, the cheif constable of Lancashire, Mr L. Fletcher, M.A., F.R.S., Director of the Natural History Department of the British Museum, says that his colleague, Dr. Prior, Keeper of the Minerals, has been to Manchester and seen the meteorite. He says it is undoubtedly a genuine one, whereas nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand sent to the museum for inspection are mere terrestrial products. I am told it is the largest known meteorite which has fallen in this country for 120 years. I understand that Mr. Maxwell, Principal of the Manchester School of Technology, has made an analytical examination of the meteorite, and that a report is expected from him in due course. As soon as this is received I will endeavour to forward you a copy. Through the microscope the meteorite seems to be composed entirely of silicious material mixed with bright metal of the appearance of silver.
No fireball was seen over Glatton because it was cloudy at the time. A week after the fall, volunteers searched for other meteoritic stones to the north and south of Glatton, but none was found.
RESEARCH (my summary of the first 2 out of 4 points)
1. an ordinary chondrite of the low-iron group (L-group), about 23% by weight iron, about 5% of which is iron-nickel metal, remaining 18% mainly in stony minerals.
2. From preliminary radioactive study, using aluminium-26, the meteorite had been irradiated in space for more than 2 million years, as part of a boulder, less than a meter across.
Rob Elliott of Fernlea Meteorites lives in Fife, Scotland. He has found several small meteorites, notably the small several gram stone Glenrothes while out fishing. However, he has always kept his eyes to the ground when rambling the countryside. This was to prove extremely fortunate last year when out with his wife Irene on the Yorkshire moors on a meteorite hunt. This area of moorland is an undeveloped piece of countryside and ideal for meteorite hunting as the land has remained unturned for a long period of time. A large rock weighing 17.6 kg was found and the magnet Rob always carries was attracted to this curious rock. It was thought to be a possible suspect in the search for extra terrestrial interlopers. It was duly hauled out of the muddy undergrowth and taken home where it ... sat outside for three months in the glorious Scottish wind, rain and sleet! Now, you and I as meteorite enthusiasts would probably balk at this location, but hear me out. It was thought to possibly be a meteorite due to the magnetism, but in reality it was more likely to be some iron slag. After all it had a thick and extremely friable rust covering and a strange sulphurous smell. So it wasn't going to be house guest just yet.
The nearest town to where this rock was found is the small village of Kilburn in North Yorkshire near the Hambleton Hills. The outline of the White Horse of Kilburn is a well-known landmark on the hillside. Narrow country lanes criss-cross the pasture land, many of which are shown as farm tracks. Strangely enough, they are shown up on satellite navigation systems as passable to all traffic and yet only safely negotiable by four-wheel drive vehicles. It was along such a track that the Elliotts drove, parked the Land Rover and went hunting for meteorites. This was in summertime with a lot of greenery. This can be an obstacle, as meteorites can be obscured by undergrowth for a large part of the year. Yet luck was on their side as the rock was found by a wall and relatively easy to retrieve.Hambleton meteorite almost as it was found (bar the small piece cut off for analysis). Note the furrow along the top.
After a couple of months Rob hacked off a sample which was sent to Dr. Monica Grady, now at The Open University. She is at the time of writing involved in the analysis of the Stardust samples supplied by NASA from the sample return mission to Comet Wild 2. Dr. Diane Johnson of the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute asked by Monica to communicate directly with Rob as she was doing the SEM mineral analysis. It turns out that the meteorite is a main group pallasite with a really beautiful small scale Widmanstatten structure that is clearly visible in the SEM scan emailed to Rob.backlit thin slice of Hambleton