Saturday, January 23, 2010

Doctor's Office Hit By Meteorite

When Lawrence Reese was cleaning up his sub shop in Lorton, Virginia, late Monday afternoon, he heard a tremendous impact outside.
"Loud. Loud enough you could hear it, maybe, a block or two away," recalls Reese. "I'm surprised it didn't break our glass. That's how loud it was."
Something had come hurtling out of the sky, and crashed through the roof of a nearby doctor's office, landing in an empty examination room.
"I thought something fell in Dr. Gallini's office," explained his partner, Dr. Frank Ciampi. "I thought a bookshelf fell on him, so I ran out and saw that he was okay. And then I looked to the left and saw the debris in the hallway."
The debris was smoldering and metallic. The two physicians puzzled over the items. Whatever had come through the roof had broken into several pieces. The two doctors speculated that part of an airliner had come off and fallen through their roof. A nearly circular hole was punched through the building's roof.
An acquaintance suggested the possibility of a meteorite, so the debris was sent to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in nearby Washington, D.C.
"It's definitely a meteorite," concluded Linda Welzenbach, who oversees the museum's collection of natural space objects. "It has a black fusion crust which tells us that it's passed through the atmosphere."
Most meteorites are small -- about the size of a pea. The one that landed in Lorton was bigger than a human fist, before it broke into pieces inside the doctors' office.

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