Five of the Biggest Meteor Crashes of All Time
As we continnue to get close shaves with newly discovered space objects (and some old ‘friends’ as well) here’s a look at some of the biggest meteor crashes of all time:
The oldest recorded meteorite, the Ensisheim struck earth on November 7, 1492, in Ensisheim, France. A 330-pound stone dropped from the sky into a wheat field, witnessed only by a young boy. German King Maximilian even stopped by Ensisheim to see the stone on his way to battle the French army. Maximilian decided it was a gift from heaven and considered it a sign that he would emerge victorious in his upcoming battle, which he did. Today, the largest portion stands on display in Ensisheim’s Regency Palace.
On September 28, 1969, a meteor exploded over the town of Murchison in Australia. The explosion left smoke rings in the air and left 700 kg of meteorite debris scattered across 33-sq-km area. Remarkably, the cosmic rocks contained molecules such as amino acids, which are essential to life. This was the first time organic chemicals had been found in a meteorite.
On February 8, 1969, a fireball plummeted to the ground in Chihuahua, Mexico. The meteorite exploded, producing thousands of fragments over an area of 320 sq km. Scientists found bits of calcium and aluminum embedded in the meteorite. NASA scientists thought these bits of metal were some of the first pieces of solid matter formed in the earliest times of our solar system.
Chicxulub Crater, Mexico
This is the one of the largest meteor strikes in Earth’s history, and might have killed off the dinosaurs. The impact happened roughly 65 million years ago, when an asteroid the size of a small city crashed onto earth with the destructive power of 100 teratonnes of TNT. The vast crater was buried beneath the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico near the village of Chicxulub.
This meteor crashed in southern France as a fireball on May 14, 1864. The most famous studies were carried out by Richard Hoover, a NASA scientist, who claimed the Orgueil meteorite included fossilised, alien micro-organisms. He observed that structures within the meteorite seemed to resemble primitive, single-celled organisms on earth.
Sources: Sciencing.com, Howstuffworks.com
The Economic Times