In our last article on Meteorite facts we learned about the difference between meteoroids, meteors and meteorites and learn in brief about the types of meteorites. We didn’t touch any of the meteorite fun facts that will make your jaws dropped. In this article we will do exactly that. So, let us begin…
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 1-5
1. The largest meteorite that hit Earth is known as Hoba. Weirdly enough, the meteorite didn’t create a crater upon impact with Earth. It is naturally occurring most massive iron piece to be present on Earth now.
2. Scientists think that Hoba most likely skipped through Earth’s atmosphere because the meteorite is unusually flat on both surfaces. [the featured image you see for this post is of Hoba meteorite]
3. There are only two confirmed cases of meteorites killing two people. One happened in 1825 when a meteorite killed a person. The second one happened in India in 2016 when a person was struck by a meteorite and claimed his life.
4. Sir Terry Pratchett – a fantasy author – when knighted, had a sword made for himself. He himself learned the art of sword-making from an hired expert to forge his own sword. What’s weird is that the sword is made of iron ore that was dug out of several pieces of a single meteorite.
5. In July, 2011, the meteorites that fell on Earth during the brilliant meteor shower, have been confirmed by scientists to be Martian meteorites. The stones were recovered from Morocco. Scientists say that the rocks were ejected from Martian surface when an asteroid rammed on the planet back in antiquity.
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 6-10
6. In South of Cairo an excavation was taking place when the archaeologists found an iron beads’ string. Upon closely studying the iron, the researchers found that the iron dated thousands of years prior to the beginning of Iron Age in Egypt. They concluded eventually that the iron was of meteorite origin.
7. Scientists say that meteorites are responsible for evolution of life of Earth. Before life evolved on this planet, meteorites that fell on Earth, brought with them what we call reduced phosphorus. This reduced phosphorus oxidized into phosphates and thereby allowing RNA and DNA generation, which are precursors of life.
8. a 58-ton fragment of a meteorite had been a major source of metal for creation of harpoons and other tools for the Inuits of the Greenland.
9. Some of the medals that were given out in 2014 Olympics had fragments of meteorite material. The fragments were taken from the meteorite that hit Russia in year 2013.
10. The artificial satellites that we launch in Earth’s orbit are programmed in a way that they evade meteors. Only one out of 8,000 different satellites orbiting Earth has till date been hit and destroyed by meteorites.
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 11-15
11. There are jewelry grade diamonds and then there are industrial-grade meteor crater diamonds. Russia has a massive cache of the second variant worth trillions of dollars. The second type is two times harder than jewelry grade.
12. Two Greek armies hell bent on destroying each other were standing face to face and getting ready for a battle in 74 BCE. A meteorite crash landed between the two armies and scared the shit out of them. Both the armies decided to flee the scene.
13. Nazis authorized an expedition in Tibet in 1930s. That’s when they managed to recover an ancient statue that was carved out of a meteorite. The meteorite landed on Earth some 150,000 years ago.
14. According to NASA, some 10,000 tons of meteorites make it to the surface of Earth on a daily basis. Fortunately however, most of them are no bigger than dust grains.
15. If that’s not surprising, here is something that will shock you. Almost 33 metric tons of meteoroids enter the atmosphere of Earth every single day. Most of them end up burning and disintegrating in the atmosphere and the remaining land as meteorites.
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 16-20
16. According to scientists, the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs (remember that it was a meteorite as it entered Earth’s atmosphere and reached Earth’s surface) managed to release a dust cloud so humongous that it nearly covered the entire Earth and prevented the sun rays to reach the planet.
17. That meteorite also created such deafening sound that most of the animals most likely lost their hearing instantly. Also, the energy that was released was equal to the energy created by exploding 100 teratonnes of TNT.
18. Very small amounts of burnt particles of meteorites are present in dust.
19. In order to actually survive the meteor phase and reach earth as a meteorite, a meteoroid needs to be at least 25 meters wide. In order to cause some serious global damage, a meteoroid needs to be at least a kilometer wide.
20. Most of the shooting stars that enter into the atmosphere of Earth are of the size of a pebble.
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 21-25
21. In 2013, on March 17, Moon experienced a meteorite impact. Upon impact on the surface of Moon, the meteorite caused an explosion which was visible to naked eye from Earth.
22. There are some meteorites that have a specific type of crystalline pattern known as the Widmanstätten pattern. It is impossible to duplicate that pattern here on Earth. That pattern can form only in outer space.
23. Scientists have a theory that the water that is present on Earth actually arrived on the planet billions of years ago along with primitive meteorites.
24. A meteor that explodes in atmosphere with visible fragments after explosion is known as Bolide.
25. A town in Kentucky, US is built entirely in a meteor crater that has a diameter of 3 miles. Known as Middlesboro or Middlesborough, the town is the only town in US to sit in a meteor crater entirely.
Random Meteorite Fun Facts: 26-30
27. In December 2001, a team of researchers from NASA found sugar in not one but two completely different meteorites. Sugar is one of the essential building blocks of life and this discovery hinted that this building block of life may have originated from another planet.
28. Wondering what else scientists have found in meteorites? Scientists have also found carbolic acid and amino acids in meteorites that are also essential for life.
29. No, meteorites, when they land on Earth, do not create fire. Meteoroids stay in space for billions of years and they are extremely cold. When they enter Earth’s atmosphere, they heat up for sometime and only the outer surfaces burn (for large meteoroids). The insides remain cold and they cannot start on impact simply because the meteorite is hot. The friction and sheer force can however start a fire.
30. Some meteorites that land will have some isotopes of elements that have short lives. These are basically radioactive isotopes that disintegrate very quickly and are very weak to pose any threat even on direct contact. So, some meteorites can be slightly radioactive when the freshly fall on Earth.