(meteorobs) FW: Meteorite Fall In New Jersey?
I wish this reporter had called me back when I called him. Now I'll have to
do a little digging to see what ever happened to the object, which by the
way would probably not have been sizzling had it been a real meteorite.
From: Ron Baalke[SMTP:BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov]
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 1999 2:58 PM
Subject: Meteorite Fall In New Jersey?
The Press of Atlantic City
August 6, 1999
In Ship Bottom, they're dropping like meteorites
By ROBERT FLORIDA
Staff Writer, (609) 978-2012
SHIP BOTTOM -- A sizzling-hot rock, a suspected
meteorite, fell from the sky Thursday and sailed right
over the heads of two lifeguards sitting on their
The egg-sized rock landed with a loud thump on the wet
sand, where it sizzled like a piece of lava, the guards
said. It landed near the surf about eight feet in front
of their 11th Street stand in this Ocean County
"We heard a whoosh and saw this thing sail right over
our heads," said guard Bill Manisa, 22, who was sitting
in the stand along with guard Jill Mueller, 19. "If it
hit one of us in the head, we would have been dead."
Manisa jumped down from the stand to retrieve the rock,
which now sits in lifeguard headquarters, where
geologists soon will determine whether it's a
Beach Patrol Capt. Jim Blomquist said he hopes to know
today whether it is a meteorite.
But in Manisa's mind, there can be no doubt. What else
would fall from the sky sizzling hot? What else would
turn colors -- from black to gray -- as the water
"Seagull turd, that's what I thought it was at first,"
Manisa said, smiling. "Because it landed like, splat,
and what else falls out of the sky?"
Mueller at first thought Manisa had teasingly tossed
something at her. She told him to stop throwing things.
But he assured her he threw nothing. And no seagulls
hovered above their stand.
Recently, Manisa saw a documentary about meteors. So
weird-looking rock piqued his curiosity. That's why he
jumped down to look at the rock. It was so hot, he
that he touched it first with a sea shell. Then he
smelled it. Then the guards eventually picked it up.
"If it wasn't for the National Geographic documentary,
would have picked it up and tossed it into the water,"
Blomquist said he heard that a meteor shower was
occurring this month, but nonetheless it's extremely
rare for a meteorite to rain down right where anyone
see it. Blomquist, a teacher, said that the alleged
meteorite made his day.
Every summer, he said, it's something new. Last year,
was a shark scare. A few years before, it was dead fish
washing up on the beach.
"This summer it's the meteor," he joked. "It's always
something at the Ship Bottom beach."
The Press of Atlantic City
August 7, 1999
Maybe a meteor, maybe not
* A self-proclaimed expert couldn't determine
a rock that landed on a Ship Bottom beach came
outer space. The four lifeguards claiming
are still deciding what to do with their seeming
By GREGORY J. VOLPE
Staff Writer, (609) 978-2015
SHIP BOTTOM -- Two lifeguards who saw a rock fall out
the sky Thursday won't know whether it is a meteorite
until further testing.
The small rock sizzled out of the sky Thursday, landing
near the surf in this Long Beach Island community.
Yoost, a "meteor hunter" from West Paterson, Passaic
County, came Friday to inspect the rock that was first
reported in Friday's Press of Atlantic City.
"It's unusual whatever it is," Yoost said. He said the
rock didn't look like an earth rock, but it lacked a
"fusion crust," or an outer layer of material charred
from its passage through the earth's atmosphere.
Yoost, who said he is a meteor hobbyist with
to scientists in the American Museum of Natural History
in New York City, offered to take the egg-sized rock to
the museum and end debate on the mystery object. But
four lifeguards who say they own the rock didn't want
let it out of their sight.
"He seemed like a trustworthy guy, but you never know,"
said Beach Patrol Capt. Jim Blomquist.
Next week, Blomquist and Beach Patrol Lt. Ross
as well as Bill Manisa and Jill Mueller, the two
lifeguards who found the rock, will decide what to do
with their prized possession. They said they will send
it to either the Museum of Natural History or the
Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
At the museum, scientists would analyze the 57-gram
rock, which is 2 inches long, 1.25 inches across and
three-quarters of an inch wide. The scientists would
the rock open and perform mineral and chemical tests to
determine whether it is a meteorite.
If it is a standard meteorite, the rock could be worth
about $1,000 -- and if the fragment came from Mars or
the moon, it could be worth roughly $100,000, Yoost
If the rock is valuable, Blomquist and the three other
lifeguards may sell it and share the profit.
"We'll have to see if it has any value; we'll cross
bridge when we come to it," he said. "I'd like to hang
onto it. Coming from outer space it's a real
Until the lifeguards select a museum, they will keep
rock in a safe place. "We're not high security,"
Blomquist said. "We're just saying it's locked up
On Friday morning, Blomquist removed the rock to show
television and local newspaper reporters. Nearly 70
people gathered on the beach to view the possible
The crowd may have caught a glimpse of history. If the
rock is a meteorite, it would be the second time a
meteorite was reported on New Jersey soil, Yoost said.
The only other confirmed case occurred in 1824, on a
farm in Deal, Monmouth County, he said.
While it's not unusual for a such a space object to
to earth; it is uncommon for anyone to see a meteorite
when it lands, said Erik Zimmermann, director of the
Ocean County College Planetarium. Often people don't
recognize meteorites because in appearance, they aren't
much different from earth rocks, he said.
Zimmermann ruled out any connection between the Ship
Bottom rock and the Perseid meteor showers, which will
be visible next week. The Perseid meteors are mostly
and fragile rocks that would disintegrate before
reaching the ground, he said. Thursday's object more
likely came from an asteroid, he said.
Meteorites that come from asteroid fragments can fall
any time, Zimmermann said, but Ship Bottom bathers
shouldn't worry about getting hit in the head.
"Imagine the world is spinning and somebody is throwing
darts at it," he said. "There's not much chance that
same spot will be hit twice."
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