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THE ANDOVER METEORITEThe State of Maine has long had three meteorites to its credit. Nobleboro 1823, Castine 1818, Searsmont 1871.· All are stones, and all fell in the southern half of the State. We now give first public record to a fourth, also from south of the middle parallel of the State, and also an aerolite. We owe the first knowledge of this to Mr. Henry V. Poor, of Brookline, Mass., the present owner of the mass. This gentleman obtained the specimen from the original owner, on whose farm, adjacent to, his summer residence in Andover, Oxford Co., Maine, it fell. Mr. Poor, with great liberality, placed it at my disposition for examination and description. I further received a letter from Mr. Lincoln Dresser, of Andover, who tells the whole story of its fall. Mr. Dresser says, "The meteor that fell near my house on the morning of Aug. 5th, 1898, was witnessed by me, and I was within 25 feet of it when it came down. It came from the north west at an angle of 75 degrees, and in all probability Came from the constellation of Perseus. (!) It was accompanied by a loud noise resembling a buzz saw, and had a following of smoke. It was in intense heat when it struck a stone in the wall, grazing the stone. In its fall it passed down through the branches of an elm tree, cutting many of them off as clearly as if done by a sharp knife. I supposed at the time it was a gaseous ball of fire, and thought it exploded, but after examination I found where it imbedded itself in the earth to the depth of 2 1/2 feet. I secured, by digging, a large piece weighing 7 1/2 lbs., and two or three small ones which were broken by its striking the rock fence. The large piece was irregular in shape and had the appearance of having exploded in the air, as a large piece was lost from one side before it went into the ground.The crust of this one on three sides had a blackened surface with shallow dents like finger points. The broken part shows a gray rock, looking like silver. The break was fresh, and on exposure to the air you could observe the iron coloring in it. It was of the finest of granite. People in the adjoining towns heard the peculiar buzzing noise, and heard a loud report, probably when it burst.''
In June, of the present year, I had the privilege of visiting the spot in Andover where the stone fell. A sharp dent in the granite all still shows freshly where the stone struck at its first impact. In falling it had passed through thickly set, small branches of an elm tree directly above. Mr. Dresser tells me that it was seeing these branches fall, cut off by the stone, which had changed his first instant' s impression that the latter was of a gaseous character.
By the aid of a ladder and a saw I obtained the portion of a branch two inches in diameter, half cut through by the meterorite. I also obtained two small pieces of the stone itself, one from Mr. Dresser, and another from Mr. E. M. Bailey, also a resident of Andover. Through the kind favor of Mr. Poor I am able to here present a cut of the large mass which weighs about 6 1/2 lbs. (Fig. 1, Plate VIII.)In general shape it is an irregular lengthened polygon like a flattened triangle, with the three points largely truncated. The cut presents one side whose largest dimensions are 7 3/4 inches in length by 4 inches in greatest breadth. The opposite side which was broken off in the fall is of the same length, but 5 1/2 inches in the measure at right angles. All other sides are well coated with a brownish black crust, relieved by occasional patches of lighter brown. The crust is roughened by little, slightly raised pimples, often connected with very short ridges, of the molten matter. On several sides are shallow pittings as large as the impressions of finger-ends. Some of these are separated, others confluent, the latter, as is to be expected, all on the same side of the mass, having their depressed rim in the same direction or aspect. The broken side of the mass shows an interior of a light gray color, and is granular, with a few chondri of much darker color. The whole mass is, in a fresh fracture, brilliant with points of nickeliferous iron sparsely interspersed with bronze colored troilite. I have given the name of Andover to this meteorite from the proximity of its fall to the town of Andover, Oxford Co., Maine.
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