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(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.

Wayne

----------
From: 	Ron Baalke[SMTP:BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov]
Sent: 	Sunday, August 22, 1999 2:58 PM
To: 	ASTRO-L@uwwvax.uww.edu
Subject: 	Meteorite Fall In New Jersey?


                    Press Plus
                    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 
stand.

                    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
                    community.

                    "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 
meteorite.
                    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 
washed
                    over it?

                    "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 
the
                    weird-looking rock piqued his curiosity. That's why he
                    jumped down to look at the rock. It was so hot, he 
said,
                    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, 
I
                    would have picked it up and tossed it into the water,"
                    Manisa said.

                    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 
can
                    see it. Blomquist, a teacher, said that the alleged
                    meteorite made his day.

                    Every summer, he said, it's something new. Last year, 
it
                    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."

------------------------------------------------------------------------  
----



                    Press Plus
                    The Press of Atlantic City
                    August 7, 1999

                    Maybe a meteor, maybe not

                       * A self-proclaimed expert couldn't determine 
whether
                         a rock that landed on a Ship Bottom beach came 
from
                         outer space. The four lifeguards claiming 
ownership
                         are still deciding what to do with their seeming
                         unearthly treasure.

                    By GREGORY J. VOLPE

                    Staff Writer, (609) 978-2015

                    SHIP BOTTOM -- Two lifeguards who saw a rock fall out 
of
                    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. 
Derek
                    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 
connections
                    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 
the
                    four lifeguards who say they own the rock didn't want 
to
                    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 
Reynolds,
                    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 
cut
                    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
                    said.

                    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 
that
                    bridge when we come to it," he said. "I'd like to hang
                    onto it. Coming from outer space it's a real 
collector's
                    piece."

                    Until the lifeguards select a museum, they will keep 
the
                    rock in a safe place. "We're not high security,"
                    Blomquist said. "We're just saying it's locked up
                    somewhere."

                    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
                    unearthly object.

                    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 
fall
                    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 
ice
                    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 
at
                    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 
the
                    same spot will be hit twice."





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