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No. 102: Nov-Dec 1995

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Ice "meteorites" fall

When chunks of ice much larger than those oftenreported "softballsized" hailstones fall, they are termed "hydrometeors." Many hydrometeors have been reported in the meteorological journals. (See GWF1 in Tornados, Dark Days...*) While some of these large chunks can be blamed on aircraft with leaky toilets, many others cannot be explained so easily. Some may truly come from deep space. Seeing that comets and Saturn's rings are composed mostly of ice, there seems to be no shortage of ice in outer space. It is therefore strange that air-craft are routinely blamed for all falls. A Reuter's dispatch from Beijing has described a recent triplet of possible hydrometeors:

"Chinese experts have recovered what they believe to be chunks of meteoric ice that fell to Earth in Zhejiang Province, Xinhua news agency said. Amateur geologist Zhong Gongpei was nearby March 23, when farmers saw three large chunks of ice crash with a whoosh into paddy fields at Yaodou village, Xinhua said late Saturday.
"'According to witnesses, it fell with a 'whoo-ing' sound, with a cloudy streak, then came crashing down into three fields about one kilometre apart," Xinhua said."
"Zhong rushed to the scene, recovered two pieces and sent both to Purple Mountain [Observatory] on March 29 with the aid of a frozen-food company, which kept them from melting."
"The largest chunk, now about the size of a fist, left a crater about one metre in diameter."
"'They are white, semi-transparent, with an irregular shape and what are apparently air bubbles on both the surface and inside the ice. Unlike manmade ice, the ice has air bubbles, is relatively light and doesn't have the layered structure of hailstones,' he said."

(Anonymous; "Ice Meteorites Hit Rice Field," Toronto Sun, April 3, 1995. Cr. G. Duplantier and the UFO Newsclipping Bureau, Rt. 1, Box 220, Plumerville, AR 72127)

*This volume of the Catalog of Anomalies is described here.

From Science Frontiers #102 Nov-Dec 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987