January 22, 2010

Small Meteorite Crashes Through Doctor’s Office

Reports of a "mango-sized" meteorite crashing into a doctor's office at more than 200 mph in Virginia surfaced this week.

The space rock smashed through the roof, an internal wall and an upper floor before shattering into several pieces on a concrete slab.

Dr. Marc Gullani told local TV station WUSA9 said that it literally felt like an explosion went off.

His colleague, Dr. Frank Ciampi, said it came from the roof, through the firewall, through the ceiling and hit the ground.

"It went through one wall partition and then passed through a particle board ceiling into the floor of an examination room," said Linda Welzenbach, manager of the meteorite collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

"It's not really big. It's about the size of your fist," she added.

A geologist who was married to the doctors' receptionist said the pieces of interplanetary debris were subsequently identified as being extraterrestrial.

There were no injuries from the meteor strike.

Experts from meteorite collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History described the meteorite's arrival as "a special moment".

"As I recall, this will be the fourth fall in Virginia," said Welzenbach of the Smithsonian.

She described the rock parts as "pretty" and "very fresh", and said it was a shame that it broke on impact.

Prior to the meteorite crashing into the doctor's office, local residents apparently reported a "brilliant fireball" streaking through the sky. Welzenbach says the blazing passage of the rock through the Earth's atmosphere had melted its exterior, giving it a "fusion crust".

Experts say the meteorite is apparently a common-or-garden chondrite, formed out of floating space gumble in the early days of the solar system.

Most meteorites found on Earth are chondrites; no sensation is expected in spacegoing-rock aficionado circles.


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