Scientists say that the chances of dying from a meteorite fall are negligible, and that such incidents are a huge rarity. Alas, they are wrong or just trying to calm us down.
On the afternoon of February 6, 2016, a powerful explosion thundered on the campus of Bahrathidasan in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
“I have never heard such a sound before,” said the rector Ganeji Baskar. - The building shook for almost a minute. I ran outside with students and teachers. There was a cloud of dust rising ...
People who had run to the site of the explosion saw a terrible picture. In the middle of the lawn at the cafeteria, a shallow funnel gaped. A college bus driver, Kamraj, 40, was lying nearby. At first glance, it became clear that the case was bad: his skull was fragmented. Two gardeners and a student, who was late for classes, got off with minor injuries. All glass within a radius of 400 meters knocked out a shock wave.
The ambulance did not have time to take Kamraj to the hospital. Doctors from Natrampalli could only state death. During the autopsy, they searched for fragments of the bomb, but there was not a single metal fragment in the body of the deceased.The sappers arrived at the scene and concluded that a meteorite had fallen on the lawn.
Upon learning of the incident, the state governor gave the family of Kamraj assistance in the amount of 100 thousand rupees (at that time about 1500 dollars). The wounded received 25 thousand rupees.
Astronomers did not believe that a meteorite killed a man. They said that the funnel is too small, that meteorites usually explode in the sky, and not from hitting the ground, and before they fall they can hear thunder. But Indian scientists, after examining the samples obtained under a microscope, confirmed that a fragment of a cosmic wanderer was responsible for the driver’s death.
The death of the driver was the last link in a series of tragedies that hit India from the sky. On February 22, 2007, a meteorite fell on a field near the village of Bunchola in Rajasthan. Three people were killed and four wounded.
On September 29, 2003, a meteorite fell directly on the village of Sudusudia in Orissa, causing fires and destruction. Two houses burned to the ground. 20 people were injured, one died - though not from a direct hit. 75-year-old Sukadeb Singh received severe burns trying to save the house, and then died in hospital.
Stone hit the village was part of a huge car, which with a roar raced over the country.
“From its light for a few moments the night turned into a day,” said the inhabitants.
One of the old men went blind, unable to withstand the bright light, several people lost consciousness from fear.
A similar incident occurred on October 12, 2008, when a huge meteorite fell in the state of Kashmir, knocking over 200 trees. Flames lit by its fragments engulfed the village of Chudraman. No one was injured, but its inhabitants lost 79 houses, 58 sheds with livestock, eight shops and a mosque.
In 1810, a meteor shower burned down five Indian villages in the Shahabad region, killing several dozen people. The British authorities did not bother to calculate the exact number of dead natives.
Victims of the Chelyabinsk meteorite
On February 15, 2013 at about 9.20 am local time, the superbolde exploded in the vicinity of Chelyabinsk at an altitude of 15-25 km.
A total of 1,613 people suffered, most of the broken glass. According to various data, from 40 to 112 people were hospitalized.
Material damage to the public sector and the population amounted to 490 million rubles, the total amount of damage (including industrial enterprises and objects of federal subordination) was about 1 billion rubles. From February 15 to March 5, 2013, an emergency situation was introduced in Krasnoarmeysky, Korkinsky and Uvelsky districts of the Chelyabinsk region.
“Almost three thousand apartment buildings in one degree or another were hit by explosions, the windows were damaged: from 41 medical institutions 34 hospitals and clinics, 361 children's institutions — kindergartens and schools. In total, according to preliminary estimates, in Chelyabinsk, more than 100 thousand square meters of glass were knocked out by a blast wave, ”said the head of the city administration, Sergey Davydov.
The blast wave from the fall of meteorite fragments knocked out windows in many office buildings in Chelyabinsk.
“At the moment when everything happened, I was near the window, it was smashed to pieces from the blast wave, I managed to close my head, now there are a couple of scratches on my face, and slightly opened my hand. The colleague was less fortunate - the scratches were deep, I had to sew, ”said an eyewitness Svetlana Popova.
Blast over madrid
Disasters involving meteorites occur not only in the rural areas of India. 110 years ago in the capital of Spain something happened that was not inferior to the recent events in India in terms of the number of victims and destructions.
On February 10, 1896, at 9:30 am, the peaceful life in Madrid ended abruptly.
“A meteor of enormous dimensions appeared over the city, emitting a strong light,” wrote the St. Petersburg magazine World Illustration. “At a height of 32 kilometers, it burst with an incredible roar.All the houses began to tremble, and the mass of window panes broke.
There was confusion and panic in the city. In one of the tobacco factories, the workers, thinking that a strong earthquake had happened, started running all at once and began to crowd on the stairs. The latter, unable to withstand the severity, collapsed, and 17 people received serious injuries and wounds, and one was killed. There were many other accidents in the city. One house collapsed completely.
In some educational institutions, children crowded at the exit received bruises. A wall collapsed in the palace of the United States Embassy and all window panes fell out ... Several large, hot stone pieces were found. Many merchants have closed their shops, and on the outskirts of panic is still holding. Hum and clack were heard at a distance of several kilometers from the city. "
10 small pieces of meteorite have survived to this day. The largest fragment is in the National Museum of Natural Sciences. It weighs 143 grams.
At least three capitals have seriously suffered from meteorites. On August 15, 1951, stone rain hit Tehran, destroying 62 houses. 12 citizens were killed, 19 were injured. Over 300 cattle were killed by a direct hit or fire following a sky strike. In 960, a meteorite exploded over Dublin, killing 1,100 Irish.According to astronomer Yuri Lobanovsky, the power of the explosion described in the Annals of Ulster was from 10 to 25 megatons.
The heavenly surprise that fell in southern Serbia almost cost the newlyweds life.
In the village of Zaichar, a wedding procession headed towards the church. Suddenly a meteorite fell on a wagon riding behind a bridal carriage. One of the peasants in it was literally crushed by a hot stone.
A woman sitting next to him was seriously wounded. There was a panic. All participants in the wedding train rushed to escape. The bride lost consciousness. And yet after a while the wedding took place ... in an empty church. The peasants saw in the incident a bad omen and were afraid to come.
The meteorite on the cart remained hot during the day. Its diameter was about 40 centimeters.
In 1836, Atheneum magazine wrote:
“Recently, they tried to prove that there was not a single case of death in the fall of meteorites. Mr. Babinet, the son-in-law of Professor Laurier, sent to the Academy of Sciences of France a note on this incident and a piece of meteorite. He fell in America near Roquewefort and, having punched a hole in a house with a diameter of one and a half meters, killed two people ...
In 1647, Swedish sailor Olaf Erikson Uilman described a case in which an eight-pound stone fell on the ship’s deck, killing two sailors. Mr Wardin told the academy that a similar story took place in Georgia in 1826, when a meteorite caused several people to die; moreover, in July 1829, an Indian named Elika died in the same way. ”
Mournful chronicle can go on indefinitely.
On July 2, 1839, a farmer from England was killed by a direct hit by a meteorite. "Stone Guest" stitched his hat and, "having knocked out a piece of the cranial bone, landed in the leg, after which he dug into the ground."
Another farmer died in his bed - meteorite broke through a hut, mortally wounding its owner.
The newspaper "Evening Post" on May 17, 1879, wrote that Leonid Grover from Covington, Indiana, "had been torn apart, as if by a cannon shot." Having unearthed the ground under the punched bed and floor, the sheriff took out a pyramidal-shaped stone.
On October 12, 1898, several pieces of meteorite fell in Perry, Oklahoma. One piece weighing more than 200 kilograms hit the building, killing two children and wounding other family members.
On land, meteorites rarely carried off more than one victim at a time, but at sea the situation was worse. Heavenly wanderer can send the whole ship to the bottom.
In 1908, the Eclipse sailing ship sank through a meteorite. The sailors put out the fire, but they failed to repair the hole. After working for four days with pumps, the crew left the ship and moved into the boats.
The Eclipse captain decided to sail in boats to the Hawaiian Islands. The wreck had to overcome 900 miles. Sailors reached the coast in 17 days. Of the entire crew, 13 people survived, the rest died on the way from hunger and thirst.
The same fate befell the sailboat Sagittarius in the Atlantic Ocean. After the impact of the meteorite, the ship went to the bottom so quickly that the crew barely managed to lower the boats into the water. This time, fortunately, no one died, and the crew was picked up by a passing ship.
No less dangerous is the electromagnetic disturbance, which often occurs when a meteor is flying or falling. The currents induced in the wiring can cause a fire or damage devices. In 1910, a meteorite fell near the side of the ship "Trafalgar", making its compasses useless trash.
“We saw a huge fiery body with a tail,” said the captain of the vessel. -With a loud whistle, it fell next to the vessel, tossing a column of water.The same moment came the sailors from the forecastle, saying that it was on fire. Everything inside him was shining with a blinding light. The effect in the engine room was even more impressive. It was lit up with a dull purple light permeated with millions of sparks.
All the sailors from there ran out onto the deck. The second assistant received a strong electrical discharge from the iron rod, which he held in his hands. The phenomenon lasted only seconds. Remembering by surprise, we saw that the compasses are demagnetized and give incorrect readings.
I decided to return to the nearest port. Because of the blizzard, there was no sign of any kind. Finally, we met another ship and, following him, arrived at Falmouth.
The captain’s precaution did not save the ship from unhappiness. On May 31, 1910, a couple of months later, Trafalgar burned in the ocean near Bombay. Perhaps the incident with the heavenly guest was not in vain for the old wiring.