Meteors have survived their passage through the Earth’s atmosphere numerous times throughout history. The recent meteorite that blasted over the populated town of Chelyabinsk in Russia—injuring 1,500 people, mostly from shattered windows caused by the shock waves—is not the first meteorite to strike a populated area on Earth.
A report from The Meteoritical Society in 1994, titled “Meteorite falls in China and some related human casualty events,” states that human causalities attributed to meteorite falls are extremely rare, but there have been reports throughout history.
Here is a list of other reported meteorites that have struck Earth’s populated areas in the past 400 years.
1. In the deserts or northern Sudan, 47 meteorites were found along the search path for asteroid 2008 TC3. R.A. Kowalski discovered the asteroid with a 1.5-m telescope at Mt. Lemmon in Arizona. The asteroid was 370,000 miles from Earth at the time he discovered it. Pilots and orbiting satellites saw a fireball.
2. In 2007, Peru had a mid-day visible fireball meteorite. Many fragments were recovered. Local people said they were ill after the fireball meteorite.
3. 1n 1992, a car in New York was hit by a meteorite. It passed through the car’s trunk and impacted the ground. A fireball was seen across the East Coast.
4. A meteorite in Georgia, U.S., hit a mailbox in 1984.
5. One of the largest stony-meteorite showers happened in Jilin, China in 1976, and it had more than 100 fragments.
6. In 1965, two buildings and a car were hit by meteorites in England.
7. In 1954, a large meteorite struck Hulett Hodges in Alabama, on her hip and arm. “It first fell through the ceiling of her house, and then bounced off a large radio in the living room where she was taking a nap, before hitting her,” according to The Meteoritical Society. She was slightly injured, suffering shock and bruises.
Newspaper reports from 1954 said that Hodges demanded that the Air Force return the meteorite that fell in her home back to her. The meteorite was six to eight inches in diameter and left a three-foot hole in her roof.
The Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama had a helicopter crew fly to Hodge’s house and took the meteorite to Air Force laboratories. The town’s mayor wanted to put the meteorite in a natural history museum, but Hodges and her husband wanted to keep the meteorite that hit her as a souvenir.
8. The Philippines saw buildings hit by thousands of meteorites in 1938. It’s said that they were “as big as corn and rice grains.”
9. In 1947, Siberia had what is recorded to be one the largest iron meteorite showers. It’s estimated that 100 tons of debris fell. Nearly 9,000 fragments weighing 28 tons were recovered. It happened in broad daylight. At the time, Siberia was ruled by the communist Soviet Union with Siberia being home to many gulags, forced labor camps. The largest impact crater was 85 feet by 20 feet deep. The fragments struck many trees.
10. In 1924, many meteorites fell in Colorado, some within feet of farmers in their fields. The largest weighed 51.8 pounds and buried itself 5 feet into the soil.
11. In 1907, it is said that a meteorite caused a house to collapse in Weng-Li, China. A family inside reportedly died from the collapse.
12. In 1890 there was a meteorite shower of 2,000 fragments in Iowa. One reportedly fell into a pile of hay, but did not cause a fire.
13. In 1868, a meteorite shower of more than 100,000 fragments fell in Poland.
14. In Bohemia, in 1847, a 37-pound iron meteorite fell into a room and covered three children with debris. Fortunately, they were not injured.
15. In Brazil, a group of cattle were killed when struck by a shower of meteorites in 1836.
16, In 1827, a meteorite hit a man on his arm and severely injured him in India.
17. In 1825, a meteorite killed a man and injured a woman in India, according to the International Comet Quarterly. http://www.icq.eps.harvard.edu/meteorites.html
18. In 1879, a meteorite may have struck a Kentucky farmer while he was sleeping in his bedroom. The Meteoritical Society called it a “rather dubious report.”
19. In 1648, an eight-pound meteorite fell on the ship Malacca. It was sailing from Holland to Batavia. It is reported that two sailors died from the meteorite.
20. Sometime between 1633 and 1664, a Franciscan friar is reported to have died after being struck on the leg by a meteorite in Milan.
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