The week started with a bang for a homeowner in New Jersey after a likely meteorite blasted a hole through a house early Monday afternoon.
A metallic rock fell out of the sky and hit a house in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, located approximately 10 miles north of Trenton. The Hopewell Township Police Department responded to the incident and confirmed that the oblong-shaped rock damaged the building.
“It penetrated the roof, the ceiling and then impacted the hardwood floor before coming to a rest,” the police department said. No one was injured during the incident.
An investigation is underway to identify the rock and to determine if it is indeed from space. Scientists will closely examine the rock, which appears to have a charred exterior and measures approximately 4 inches by 6 inches.
The Hopewell Township Police Department said that the meteorite could be related to the recent peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, but it is still unclear if the two events are related.
“I got a message from a colleague saying the Hopewell PD was going to call me. And I was like – why?” said geophysicist Shannon Graham, PhD at The College of New Jersey.
Smaller space rocks typically burn up and disintegrate when entering Earth’s atmosphere, but larger rocks can make it to the surface of the planet. Space rocks that reach the surface of the Earth are called meteorites.
Contrary to popular belief, many meteorites that hit the ground are not hot enough to start a fire. According to the American Meteor Society, meteors like the one that fell in New Jersey may be warm when they hit the Earth, but “probably reach the ground at only slightly above ambient temperature.”
Although it’s extremely rare for a meteorite to hit a house, there have been several notable incidents in the past.
On Oct. 3, 2021, a softball-sized meteorite crashed through a house in British Columbia, Canada, landing in a bed just inches away from a woman who was sleeping.
“We have a scanning electron microscope on campus,” said Graham. “It’ll tell us the chemistry of it and that can tell us Earth-made metal or metal from space.”
One of the most famous meteorite crashes in recent U.S. history took place on Oct. 9, 1992, when a 26-pound space rock hit a car parked in a driveway in Peekskill, New York, just north of New York City. The vehicle became world-famous and was on display in several museums, including France’s National Museum of Natural History.
Produced in association with AccuWeather
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond
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