St. Louis Meteorite
Below are some newspaper articles, in chronological order,
about the St. Louis meteor and meteorite.
article above is amusing in its inaccuracies. People who study meteorites
are called meteoriticists.
are people who study weather. A meteor
is the flash of light seen in the sky. The rock itself is a meteorite
(not "meteor bits"!). The wording "two chunks of hot
metal" is questionable. St. Louis is an ordinary chondrite (H4). That
means it's a stony meteorite, not an iron. It is a common misconception
that meteorites are hot when they land. "Outer space" is cold. As
a meteoroid passes through the atmosphere, the outside gets exceedingly
hot. It gets so hot that it melts and immediately sloughs off. A stone is
not a good conductor of heat, and the whole passage through the atmosphere
takes a few seconds. As a consequence of all these things, freshly fallen
meteorites are cold, except perhaps for the smallest ones. There are
accounts of frost forming on a freshly fallen meteorite. Finally, all meteorites
are "partially composed of iron."
Washington University (this Department, at least) does not now possess the
"fragment" mentioned in the article above. We don't know what
became of it.
article below is more accurate in its wording.
interior fragment of St.
Louis (millimeter ticks for scale, bottom).
The shiny spots are metal grains, some of which have rusted.
Thanks to Karl Aston for loan of the sample.
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