CRUMLIN, County Antrim, Stone (L5), fell 1902
DUNDRUM, County Tipperary, Stone(H5), fell 1865
KILLETER, County Tyrone, Stones(H6), fell 1844
LEIGHLINBRIDGE, County Carlow, Stones(H6?), fell 1999
LIMERICK, County Limerick, Stones(H5), fell 1813
MOORESFOOT, County Tipperary, Stone(H5), fell 1810
PETTISWOOD, Westmeath, Stone (type?), fell 1779
Fleet-street, Aug. 1.
May it not be a reasonable conjecture, that all the various substances which have fallen from the atmosphere, in latter as well as in former time, are nothing more than the sands, and other contents, found at the bottom of lakes and large rivers, and from the shores of the sea, naturally produced by the powerful influence or the attraction of the clouds? It is but a trite observation to say, that the clouds make frequent visits to the waters of the earth, from which they usually carry away large quantities of that element, and with it, no doubt, the substances (even with some of the fish[*]) which from the beds, in proportion to the heat of the weather, and the depth of those waters which the clouds, when they fall, happen to attach upon. It is as self-evident, that the streams which ascend with the clouds are sometimes clear as crystal, at other times thick and middy. When the latter is the case, then it is that these substances may be concseted; and, by some extradinary concussion in the atmosphere, return to the earth. But one fact is worth fifty opinions. Two pieces, belonging to a concretion of this sort, have been in my possession since the year 1779, which actually descended, in a loud-peal of thunder, upon a meadow, situate at Pettiswood, co. Westmeath, in the kingdom of Ireland[*]. The size and form of this cake, as nearly as any thing I can compare it to, is that of a twopenny heart-cake, supposing all the parts were together. The two pieces of the cake I am describing weigh three ounces and a half, and, I suppose, form two thirds of the whole. Be the composition of this stone what else it may, it has been adjudged to be neither fossil, pyrite, nor petrifaction; and, I doubt nor, were it put into water, it would dissolve, and spread to the bottom of its own proper natural element; in short, it is not any mineral substance, nor is it similar to any stone known in the country; it is, as before stated, nothing more than a cake of concreted sand, containing small particles of white sparkling shells, the same as is to be found on the shores and beds of the lakes near which it descended[*]. I was not a moment at a loss to guess whence came this phaenomenon, from observations previously made of the working of the clouds, which to me and my family was a frequent topic of contemplative and conversable amusement. The sports of the clouds are scenes, the first, in my mind, among the sublime and beautiful. Like the wary seafowl, they gradually descend, hover over the water, rise and descend again and again, until duly prepared; then dart, and seize upon their prey. Having quenched their thirst from the lakes, their reascension is marked, between wind and water, with a most brilliant transparency. I never beheld in nature an object sufficiently grand (except the comet of 1769) with which to compare this scene, produced by the occasional visits, the wanton and playful festivities of the clouds upon the lakes.
At the instant this rude lump descended, our little village was enveloped with the fumes of sulphur, which continued about six minutes. To its descent five witnesses are now living; three of whom reside in London. It lighted upon the wooden part of a harness, called a stradle, belonging to a filly drawing manure to a meadow, and broke into three pieces. At the same instant the affrighted beast fell to the earth, under her load; as did the two equally affrighted gassoons (boys), the drivers, who, in good Irish, came crying to me, with two pieces of the stone, declaring that themselves and the filly were all murdered by this thunderbolt; none of whom, however, received the least injury. The two pieces, when I received them, after the resurrection of the boys, were warm as milk just from the cow; whence it may be naturally be concluded, that the cake came from a scorching atmosphere, and pretty well accounts for the outside of it, in its formation, and during its stay there, having been tinged to a whitish brown, whereas internally it is of a silver white, exactly like the materials whence it originated, supposing my conjecture a fact.
I am the more inclined to think I am not very far from the truth, and that my conjecture may make a favourable impression; first, because I never related this narrative and shewed the concreted substance to any persons (which I should not have done but that the subject was now agitating) however unbelieving before, and who have ever treated this subject with the utmost ridicule that can be imagined, but such persons have been brought to acknowledge, that, at least, they had formed too badly an opinion.
...(more follows, discussing the causes, quoting Professor Soldani, and Mr. King's pamphlet "On Stones falling from the Clouds", followed by a short description of the Yorkshire, Wold Cottage stone, and its differences to that owned by the author, finishing with...)
I am not without hope, that, upon a farther investigation by the learned, my cake and Captain Topham's loaf will be found to have both been baked in the same stupendous oven, according to the due course of nature.
Footnotes to the letter
[*] Should fish, or other marine substances, be discovered, petrified in quarries, etc. it would be no very hard matter to account for such petrifactions upon my idea of their rise and fall into and from the atmosphere. Should they fall upon the earth, and remain unbedded, no doubt but they would entirely waste away; on the contrary, should they be immersed within rocks, quarries, or hardened sand, they might remain perfect in shape and substance for ages.
[*] See Gent. Mag. vol. LXV. p201, Pettitswood is so called from John Pettis, who, by an old-map of Ireland, appears to have been a proscribed proprietor of lands of 40 miles extent, in a strait line, viz. from Pettiswood, through Westmeath and Longford, and part of the county of Rosecommon. Upon this hill of Pettiswood, and one opposite, called Rathconel, was fought a very famous battle, immediately previous to that of Clontarf, 1014, which terminated the contest between the Irish and the Danes, the latter of whom were here also defeated. See Sir Henry Piers's History of Westmeath, published by Vallancey, 8vo.
[*] The extensive lakes Ennel and Sewell, near Mullingar, whose shores are inhabited by families of the first rank in the kingdom, viz. earl Belvidere, and the whole family of the Rochforts; Mr. Lyons; Sir john Blaquire; Sir Richard Levinge; Mr. Judge; Mr. Reynolds; and a numerour gentry; who could all testify to the similarity of he substances here insisted on, were they to view that which I am describing. For a curious and interesting description of these lakes, see Vallancey's work, before quoted.
XLVIII. Description and Analysis of a Meteoric Stone which fell in the County of Tipperary, in Ireland, in the Month of August 1810. By William Higgins, Esq.
To Mr. Tilloch.
Dear Sir, As meteoric stones have lately engaged the attention of the philosophical world, perhaps the following description and analysis of a stone that had fallen last August, during a thunder-storm, in the county of Tipperary, in Ireland, very near the house of Maurice Crosbie Moore, esq. will be acceptable to many of the numerous readers of your very useful Journal. It will at least add to the authenticity of those strange and unaccountable visitors, and tend to prove the resemblance to each other of the stones that have fallen in different parts of the world.
This stone was sent last spring to the Dublin Society, with an account of the circumstances attending its fall, in a letter from Mr. Moore, a printed copy of which I enclose. It was not injured by the fall, and was somewhat of a cubical shape, with the angles and edges of two sides rounded; the other two opposite sides exhibited a very uneven surface, occasioned by depressions and prominences, as if a part had been broken previous to the heat to which it must have been exposed before its fall.
It weighed seven pounds and three quarters, and the entire surface was covered over with a brownish black thin crust, evidently the effects of fusion by an intense and rapid heat. When broken, its internall appearance is of an ash-gray colour, and of a gritty coarse fracture in some degree resembling sand-stone, except some particular parts where a specular appearance occurs somewhat like a blackish-gray gneiss: in this case the smooth surfaces do not adhere so firmly as the other parts; the dark colour proceeds from mallable iron, which forms here and there a very thin coating.
followed by 4 pages of analysis, which I have omitted
Letter from Mr. Moore to Mr Higgins.
"Sir,--I had the honour of receiving a letter, requesting from me the particulars respecting a meteoric stone that fell near my house in the county of Tipperary, and which a short time ago I did myself the pleasure of presenting to the Dublin Society. The particulars are as follow:- Early last August, between eleven and twelve o'clock in the morning, I went from Mooresfort to Limerick; the day was dark and sultry. I returned in a few days, and was immediately informed by my steward and butler that a most wonderful phænomenon had occured very soon after my departure; they produced the stone, and gave the following account of the occurance there had been thunder; some workmen who were laying lead along the gutters of my house were suddenly astonished at hearing a whistling noise in the air; one said, The chimney is on fire; another said, It proceeds from a swarm of bees in the air. On looking up, they observed a small black cloud very low, carried by a different current of air from the mass of clouds, from whence thay imagined this stone to have proceeded: it flew with the greatest velocity over their heads, and fell in a field about three hundred yards from the houses they saw it fall. It was immediately dug up, and taken into the steward's office, where it remained two hours cooling before it could be handled. This account I have had from many who were present, and agree in the one story. I saw myself the hole the stone made in the ground; it was not more than a foot in depth. Should any thing further be wished for from me, I shall feel myself very happy in procuring fromm the men themselves their own account, and transmitting their own exact words and description to the Society.
I am sir,
your very humble servant.
Maurice Crosbie Moore
13 Lower Mount-street
May 22, 1811.
Friday morning, the 10th of September 1813, being very calm and serene, and the sky clear, about nine o'clock, a cloud appeared in the east, and very soon after I heard eleven distinct reports appearing to proceed thence, somewhat resembling the discharge of heavy artillery. Immediately after this followed a considerable noise not unlike the beating of a large drum, which was succeeded by an uproar resembling the continued discharge of musketry in line. The sky above the place whence this noise appeared to issue became darkened and very much disturbed, making a hissing noise, and from thence appeared to issue with great violence different masses of matter, which directed their course with great velocity in a horizontal direction towards the west. One of these was observed to descend; it fell to the earth, and sank into it more than a foot and a half, on the lands of Scagh, in the neighbourhood of Patrick's Well, in the county of Limerick.
It was immediately dug up, and I have been informed by those that were present, and on whom I could rely, that it was then warm and had a sulphurous smell. It weighed about 17 lb., and had no appearance of having been fractured in any part, for the whole of its surface was uniformly smooth and black, as if affected by sulphur or gunpowder.
Six or seven more of the same kind of masses, but smaller, and fractured, as if shattered from each other or from larger ones, descended at the same time with great velocity in different places between the lands of Scagh and the village of Adare.
One more very large mass passed with great rapidity and considerable noise at a small distance from me; it came to the ground on the lands of Brasky, and penetrated a very hard and dry earth about 2 feet. This was not taken up for two days; it appeared to be fractured in many places, add weighed about 65 lb.! Its shape was rather round, but irregular.
It cannot be ascertained whether the small fragments which came down at the same time corresponded with the fractures of this large stone in shape or number, but the unfractured part of the surface has the same appearance as the one first mentioned. There fell also at the same time, on the lands of Faha, another stone, which does not appear to have been part of or separated from any other mass; its skin is smooth and blackish, of the same appearance with the first mentioned; it weighed about 74 lb.; its shape was very irregular, for its volume was very heavy. . . . It was about 3 miles in a direct line from the lands of Brasky, where the very large stone descended, to the place where the small ones fell in Adare, and all the others fell intermediately; but they appeared to descend horizontally, and as if discharged from a bomb and scattered in the air.
[ Note: a another version of this text appears in Volume 9, 1865, pages 341 to 343, the wording and puncation used differs slightly, and contains additional information quoted on other earlier falls in Ireland. No author is given. ]
The Rev. Samuel Haughton, F. R. S. Fellow of trinity College, Dublin, read a paper--
On the shower of aerolithes that fell at Killeter, county of Tyrone, on the 29th of April, 1844.
On the 29th of April, 1844, a shower of Meteoric Stones fell, in the sight of several people, at Killeter, near Castlederg, Co. Tyrone; they broke into small fragments by the fall, one piece only being found entire. It was (according to the testimony of a resident) "about as long as a joint of a little finger." The account given by three gentlemen, who, however, did not actually see the shower fall, was that they were at a distance of three or four miles, up the hills in the neighbourhood; it was a fine sunny evening, three or four o'clock. They heard "music" towards Killeter, which they supposed to proceed from a strolling German band, which they knew to be in the neighbourhood; they are under the impression that they heard the music several times in the course of the evening; they remember also to have noticed clouds in the direction of Killeter. On reaching Killeter the same evening, they were told of the wonderful shower of stones which had spread over several fields. I received the fragments of these stones from the Rev. Dr. M'Ivor, ex-Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and rector of Ardstraw; he writes to me that "it is now very difficult to get either a specimen of a stone or any very distinct intelligence of them: even the very rumour of them has nearly died out, and you might ask intelligent middle-aged men about the neighbourhood who had never heard them mentioned." He adds that the people of that locality are very "uncurious," and that if these were a veritable burning bush thereabouts, few would "turn aside to see."
The largest specimen given to me by Dr. M'Ivor weighed 22.23 grs. in air, and 16.32 grs. in water, showing that its specific gravity is 3.761. Both it and the smaller fragments presented the usual black crust and internal greyish-white crystalline structure and appearance, with specks of metallic lustre, occasioned by the iron and nickel alloy that was present. I analyzed it in the usual manner; but, owing to an accident, I was unable to determine the composition of the earthly portion soluble in muriatic acid.
The following is the mineralogical composition of these Aerolithes:--
[ omitted analysis ]
On the Meteoric Stone that fell at Dundrum, County of Tipperary, on the 12th August, 1865.
The Meteoric Stone, that forms the subject of the present Paper,
fell near Dundrum, county of Tipperary, under circumstances that
were described to me as follows, by the man in whose garden it fell:--
It was afterwards presented by Lord Hawarden to the Geological Museum of Trinity College, where it is publicly exhibited.
The stone weighed 4lbs. 14½ oz. It is rudely pyramidal in form; the triangular base being a freshly broken surface, and the faces of the pyramid being covered by the usual black vitrified glaze. It is evidently a portion of a much larger stone; and as it appears from the foregoing statement that its vertical velocity was not great, it is probable that other pieces of the larger mass may yet be found in the neighbourhood of Dundrum.
A singular feature is observable in this stone that I have never yet seen in any other:--the rounded edges of the pyramid are sharply marked by lines on the black crust, as perfect as if made by a ruler. This appearance is strictly confined to the surface, and seems to be a result of some peculiar tension of the fused crust in cooling; for no trace of any continuation of the lines can be found in the interior of the stone.
On examination with the lens, specks of metallic iron and of magnetic pyrites are visible, and also a few minute grains of chrysolith; no other minerals can be detedted in the paste, which is of a dull grey, and of loose texture, almost like a porous sandstone; and the whole stone would attract little notice, were it not for its specific gravity, and the metallic particles visible in it.
[ then followed by three and a half pages of chemical analysis ]
ON Saturday, September 13, 1902, at 10.30 a.m. (Irish time), a stone coming from the sky struck the earth (lat. 54° 38' 20" N., long. 6° 12' 10" W. of Greenwich) at a farm, belonging to Mr. Andrew Walker, situated in the district termed Crosshill, a mile to the north of the village of Crumlin, in which there is a station of the same name on the line of railway between Lisburn and Antrim. The place of fall is 3½ miles east of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles, and 12 miles almost due west of Belfast, in which city nearly two thousand members of the British Association were then assembled for the annual meeting (September 10-17).
The fall first became known to people outside the immediate district of Crumlin through unsigned paragraphs which appeared in the Belfast 'Evening Telegraph' of Tuesday, September 16, and the Belfast 'Northern Whig' of the following morning; the news had been sent by Mr. S. R. Millar, who had Heard at Killead this noise as of explosion, and had afterwards been to view the fallen stone at Crosshill, where he had been told the particulars of its arrival by Mr. A. Walker himself. On September 20, Mr. W. H. Milligan of Belfast, in his hours of leisure an enthusiastic and skilful' observer of luminous meteors, and therefore particularly interested in the bodies which produce them, went to Crumlin to get more precise information than had yet been published relative to the stone and the phenomena connected with its fall. Later, the particulars of the fall reached the present writer, who, having learned through a telegram sent by him to Mr. Milligan that the stone was still in the hands of Mr. Walker, and from the latter that it had not been seen by any one familiar with the characters of such natural objects, left London immediately and arrived at the farmhouse on the morning of September 26. Recognizing at once that the stone was undoubtedly of celestial origin, he acquired it for the British Museum and sailed for Liverpool the same day with the stone in his care. The particulars given at the farm to Mr. Milligan and the present writer, and a preliminary description of the stone, were published immediately afterwards in 'Nature' (October 9, 1902).
Mr. Milligan, then residing at Belfast within easy reach of Crumlin, was conveniently placed for continuing the inquiries relative to the circumstances of the fall, and for this purpose published in the Belfast 'Newsletter' (September 26) and the Belfast' Northern Whig' (October 14) appeals for communication to him of any observations which might throw light on the path of the stone in the earth's atmosphere. He also called attention to the fact that a fall of stone, due to the same meteor, might have occurred elsewhere in the district at the same time; and he addressed special letters of inquiry to railway "station-masters and to clergymen in the region concerned. Further, Miss A. Black, living at the" farm, acted as secretary in this matter for her uncle, Mr. Walker, and forwarded to the writer accounts given by those who were near the Spot at the time when the stone fell and by others, farther away, who had heard the noise and afterwards gone to the farmhouse to see and handle, or inquire about, the fallen stone. The information thus obtained has been incorporated in the present paper.
It may be added, that no other stone belonging to the fall was ever found.
The essential particulars of the fall of the stone at Crosshill may'be briefly summarized as follows:—At 10.30 a.m. on September 13, 1902, W. Walker, M. Montgomery, and W. John Adams were at work on Mr. Andrew Walker's farm: Walker and Montgomery were stacking hay in the farmyard, the former arranging the hay at the top of the stack, the latter forking it from the ground; Adams was only a few yards from them and was gathering apples beneath a tree near to a hedge which separated the farmyard from the cornfield in which he was him- self standing. All of them heard a loud noise, but Walker was the only one of the three to catch sight of anything in the air; the stack being nearly finished, he was high above the ground and exceptionally well placed for getting a good view of the immediate neighbourhood. He states that after the noise he saw something like a 'whirl' come through the air with the speed of lightning and strike the ground at a spot about 30 yards from the stack, the soil being thrown up at once to a consider- able distance above the standing corn, then 3 or 4 feet high and ready for the reaper. Adams likewise saw the cloud of dust rising about 20 yards away from where he was at work. He at once ran through the standing corn towards the dust-cloud and found that a hole appeared to have just been made in the ground; it was clear to him that, if any material body had entered, it must have been immediately covered by soil which had fallen over it and have gone to an unknown and perhaps considerable depth. Adams therefore hastened to the farmyard to get a spade, and in less than a quarter of an hour from the instant of fall had dug out a black, dense stone, different in aspect from any of the known stones of the district; it had penetrated the soil about 1½ feet, at which depth further progress had been stopped by an ordinary but much larger stone already in the ground. After the use of the spade, it was impossible for any one to determine later, from examination of the hole, the preeise direction in which the stone had entered the earth, and thus the final direction of its path in the atmosphere, but according to Adams it must have gone vertically downwards. That this was the case, approximately at least, is confirmed by an observation of Mr. Andrew Walker who, immediately after the fall, sought carefully, though without avail, for signs of injury to the standing corn, such as would; be expected to have been produced by a dense stone travelling through it at a great speed in a direction inclined to the vertical.
It may be mentioned that a boy about 14 years old, who was 200 yards away, told his father at the time that he had seen a dark body, like a crow, pass through the air into Mr. Walker's field and that a 'mist' (Miss Black) or ' smoke or sparks' (Mr. Milligan). followed in its path. But the line of flight indicated by him, some time after the event, to Mr. Milligan was nearly horizontal and almost from east to west, a direction which seems inconsistent with other observations; the boy was possibly too much confused or frightened at the time to be able to recall afterwards exactly what had happened. Nor would this be surprising, for a neighbouring farmer, working in the fields, was so impressed by the strange noise that he threw away his rake and called out to his men 'All is up now!' meaning that the end of all things was come; and he said afterwards that he had really thought it.
The stone was hot when extracted, and according to Mr. Andrew Walker was still warm to the touch nearly an hour after its fall, for which length of time it had been lying on the window-sill and in the open air. The present writer, remarking the position of the window- sill on which the stone had lain, asked, Mr. Walker, who seemed certain of the accuracy of the observation, if the continued warmth might not have been due to directly incident sunshine, but was told that such an explanation was impossible of acceptance for the morning of September 13 had been cloudy.
It was recorded in the account forwarded to 'Nature' that a sulphurpus odour had been noticed after the fall. A copy of the published account having been sent by the writer to Mr. Walker for his observations, the niece of the latter, in acknowledging the receipt of it, corrected a misapprehension. It appears that Mr. Walker had intended to convey to the writer the idea, that when the stone was dug out it had, not a sulphurous odour, but a sulphurous look. She added in explanation: 'there were one or two spots of something like sulphur on the stone; the best description I can give of them is that it looked as if a thin mixture of sulphur and water had dried, on it,'. It was perhaps this appearance that led to the statement in the newspaper account that 'the stone is of a dark metallic colour tinged with gold'.
In answer to an inquiry as to how it came about that the stone was quite clean although it' had been buried in the ground, Miss Black wrote that when the stone was: dug out scarcely any soil was adherent: to it; the little which adhered was on the lower side against which the soil caught between: the two stones had been violently;pressed, and it, was- easily removed. The ground was quite dry at the time of the fall and the stone was never washed, "Thus neither at the time of the fall nor afterwards had the stone been exposed to the action of water.
As fireballs and shooting-stars, produced by the entry of quickly moving celestial matter into the earth's atmosphere, are found to die out when still some miles above the height to which clouds are observed to reach, they are only visible so long as they are travelling across a cloudless part of the sky. In the case of theCrumlin stonefall no luminous meteor is reported to have been seen by any one. That there was no rift in the clouds to make a view of the luminous meteor possible to terrestrial observers is evident from the following reports relative to the state of the sky at 10.30 o'clock on the morning of September 13:Crumlin; 'The morning was cloudy'.
Map of the district around Crumlin, marking places at which
detonations were heard.
The Crumlin stone weighs 9 lb. 5½ oz.. (4239 grains) it is 7½ inches (185 mm.) long, 6½ inches (160 mm.) wide, 3½ inches (84 mm.) thick. Though small, it is the largest stone which has been-seen to fall from the sky to the British Isles since the year 1813, and is larger than any which has fallen in England or Scotland since 1795, in which year a stone weighing 56 lb. fell in Yorkshire. The heaviest stone known to have fallen in the British Isles weighs 65 lb.; it fell near the town of Adare in County Limerick in 1813; several other stones fell at the same time, two of them weighing 241b. and 17 lb. respectively.
The form of the Crumlin stone is irregular and distinctly fragmental; there are nine or ten faces, each of them slightly concave or convex; the edges are somewhat rounded. Five of the faces are similar to each other in character, and, except for minute pittings and projecting points,- are Bmooth; they show those large shallow concavities which are Common on meteoric stories, and have been likened in shape to 'thumbmarks'; the remaining faces are different from the others in aspect and have a low ridge-and-furrow development.
The stone is covered with a crust formed during the flight through the air. The crust is in parts black, in parts brown, the latter colour being perhaps a result of the action of the soil into which the stone penetrated; it is generally dull, but here and there lustrous; in one part it is iridescent in purple, blue, and pink colours. On the smoother faces already referred to, it is uniform in aspect; and where broken is seen to be in places 0-5 mm. thick, the greatest observed thickness being 1 mm.; that on the faces which have a ridge-and-furrow development is different in aspect and seems to be much thinner. A fresh.surface of fracture is quite light in colour. From these characters it is inferred that the meteorite broke up in an early part of its course through the atmosphere, at a time when the speed was still so enormous that the heat produced by the compression of the air in front of the quickly moving stone was sufficient to scorch completely and form a crust on the newly broken ridge-and-furrow surfaces.
Small portions of the crust are missing here and there, and the fresh- looking interior is then visible ; at first the breakages were thought to be results of injury after the stone had struck the ground, but on close examination it becomes manifest that the bits of crust must have flaked off during the flight of the stone through the air; for on several of the. fresh-looking surfaces there is a reticulated black material which has been in a fused; state and occasionally has formed a spherical drop, 0·25 mm; in diameter.
Here and,there, bright particles of metal (nickel-iron) interrupt the continuity,of< the dark crust. On one of the surfaces, of latest fracture there is visible a section of; a large flat nodule of troilite, the bronze-coloured; protosulphide of iron; the section is 13 mm. long and its greatest width is 3 mm.
A crack extending nearly halfway through the meteorite at a distance of an inch from an outer face was probably caused by the impact on the larger stone met with in the soil; the crack, where it comes to the surface, is a niillinieter wide.
 [The author had left the MS. of this paper in a,finished state, as here printed, up to the end of the paragraph headed ' specific gravity'.]
 [L. Fletcher, Fall of a meteoric stone near Crumlin (Co. Antrim) September 18. 'Nature', London, 1902, vol. 66, pp. 577-579, 2 figs. Another short account written by Sir L. Fletcher appeared in the 'Globe' newspaper, and was reprinted in Geol. Mag., 1902, pp. 521-522.] [A note of the fall was also given by W. E. Besley, 'The Crumlin Meteorite', Mem. Brit. Astron. Assoc, 1908, vol. 12, pp. 29-31, being included in the Eleventh Report of the Section for the Observation of Meteors. In this account, which varies slightly in some of the details, the conclusion drawn is: 'A consideration of the mapped places whence the detonation was heard indicates that, as Mr. Milligan remarks, "It would appear that the aerolite entered the denser strata of the atmosphere apparently at a high angle over the centre of Co. Down".]
The Crumlin Meteorite.
On 1902, September 12,22h 30m (or, as the time has been generally referred to, September 13, 10:30 a.m.) an event of great interest took place--the fall of a meteorite in Ireland.
Three men were loading hay in a field at Crosshill, near Crumlin, County Antrim, when a noise like thunder or the rolling of drums broke overhead. One of them thought it was at Crumlin Mill, rather more than half a mile away, and described the report as twofold and followed by a whizzing noise or the sound of escaping steam. A second believed the cause was the running of a train off the line near by, and ran to look over the hedge, about a dozen yards off, returned, and put up a forkful of hay during the time the sound lasted. The former, from his position on the top of the haystack, saw something like a "whirl" going into the ground about 70 yards off in the adjoining field (sown with corn) with lightning speed. There was an explosion and the soil was thrown a considerable distance above the standing corn. When dug out the object, which had embedded itself in a straightdownward course for 13 inches, was found to be quite hot, continuing so for about an hour.
Another eye-witness of the fall was separated from the place by only a very small field. His attention was attracted by a hissing noise like that which a rocket produces and by an explosion. When the stone struck the ground he could see the dust rising up. He also went to the hole and estimated it as two feet deep.
A farmer was at work in one of his fields about a quarter of a mile distant towards the south-south-west from the locality referred to, when he heard a great noise overhead followed by a very heavy whirlwind and slight darkhess. A report followed by several crackling noises was distinctly audible, and then the whirlwind continued "Carrickfergus way." He was perfectly sure that the noise of wind continued after the report.
Another farmer loading hay in a north-north-easterly direction from Crosshill also noticed the great noise overhead, but apparently slightly at the side of his cart. It was followed by a whirlwind so great that he was afraid of its knocking over the haycocks.
Besides, of course, in the neighbourhood of Crosshill, the detonation was heard at Antrim (5 miles north by west), but, so far as information goes, at no other places towards the north, nor at any on the western side of Lough Neagh. It was, however, heard at many places in other directions, namely, Crumlin (1 mile south-south-west), Glenavy (3 miles south by west), Ballinderry (6½ miles south-south-west], Legoniel (8½ miles east), Lisburn ( 10½ miles south-east by south), Moira (11 miles south by west), Lurgan (13 miles south-south-west), Dromore (15 miles south by east), Banbridge (20 miles south by west), and Pointzpass (25 miles south-south-west). The observer at the last-named place noted a loud report followed by a rumbling noise in the direction of Banbridge.
Detailed descriptions of the path of the meteorite passing as a daylight fireball through the air would have been very desirable, but such accounts as are available are very meagre. The man who saw it going into the ground stated that he saw nothing to mark its track. One little boy at Crumlin said he saw "something like a crow with a mist after it." Mr. W. H. Milligan found a lad in the same village who seemed to have seen the track, and he; held a stick indicating a direction from the south or south-east to the north or north-west, but evidently at too low an angle for the flight. It is also described as having been seen at Ballinderry. A consideration of the mapped places whence the detonation was heard indicates that, as Mr. Milligan remarks,
"It would appear that the aërolite entered the denser strata of the atmosphere apparently at a high angle over the centre of Co. Down."The foregoing particulars have been compiled from information collected and kindly supplied to the writer by Mr. W. E. Milligan, who was the first to describe the occurrence with any detail, and Mr. S. E. Milligan, both of Belfast; by Mr. T. Hill Scott, of Crumlin, who also furnished a plan of the farm; by Mr. A. E. Mitchell, a Member of the Meteoric Section, and by two other Members of the Association, Mr. J. O'Neill and Mr. Alexander Tate, of Belfast, as well as by Mr. Andrew Walker, of Crosshill, one of the witnesses of the phenomenon, and on whose land it fell.
The meteorite was purchased for the British Museum collection by Mr. L. Fletcher, Keeper of the Mineralogical Department, and has been on exhibition for some time in the Central Hall of the Natural History Branch, Cromwell Road, South Kensington. From the statement appended to the case it appears that the stone was actuully dug up by a man gathering apples not 20 yards distant from where it fell. It may also be mentioned for the benefit of those unable to visit the museum that, as there announced,
"the meteorite consists chiefly of stony material, probably a mixture of Olivine and Enstatite; through it are dispersed grains of a metallic alloy of Iron and Nickel. Here and there are small nodules of the bronze-colonred mineral Troilite, a compound of iron and sulphur not found as a native terrestrial product."The weight of the specimen before being cut was 9 lbs. 5½ ozs. Its dimensions were 7½ x 6½ x 4½ ins.
WALTER E. BESLEY,
1903, January 29.
After a remarkable fireball, reported as "as bright as the full moon",
of 10:10pm, 28th November 1999 seen by people of
County Carlow, which lit up the sky and sent out booming explosions.
To date 4 Golf-ball sized fragments (totaling 271g) have been found, the first of which were found lying on a local road by a grandmother who wishes to remain anonymous. Cut sections reveal a very light coloured matrix with lots of bright metal flake and white chondrules. Fusion crust is dark black and wonderful!
Provisional name Leighlinbridge (pronounced Lock-lin-bridge)