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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