Peekskill meteorite

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Peekskill meteorite
Peekskill meteorite in Museum of Natural History.jpg
Portion of the meteorite in the National Museum of Natural History
GroupMonomict breccia
Composition20% nickel-iron
CountryUnited States
RegionPeekskill, New York
Coordinates41°17′11″N 73°54′59″W / 41.28639°N 73.91639°W / 41.28639; -73.91639Coordinates: 41°17′11″N 73°54′59″W / 41.28639°N 73.91639°W / 41.28639; -73.91639
Observed fallYes
Fall date1992-10-09
TKW12 kilograms (26 lb)
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Peekskill meteorite is among the most historic meteorite events on record.[1] Sixteen separate video recordings document the meteorite burning through the Earth's atmosphere, whereupon it struck a parked car in Peekskill, New York.[2] Peekskill is an H6 monomict breccia;[3] its filigreed texture is the result of the shocking and heating following the impact of two asteroids in outer space.[4] The meteorite is of the stony variety and approximately 20% of its mass is tiny flakes of nickel-iron.[5] When it struck Earth, the meteorite weighed 26 pounds (12 kg) and measured one foot (0.30 m) in diameter. The Peekskill meteorite is estimated to be 4.4 billion years old.[6]


The meteorite fell on October 9, 1992 – an event witnessed by thousands across the East Coast. Numerous residents of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. described the "huge greenish fireball."[7] The meteorite broke up over Kentucky and passed over West Virginia and Pennsylvania on its north-northeast trajectory before striking a parked 1980 red Chevy Malibu at approximately 7:50 pm EDT. After traveling through space at a cosmic velocity of 8.8 miles per second (14 km/s, 31,600 miles per hour), the speed of the meteorite at impact had slowed to 164 miles per hour (264 km/h).[8]


As the meteorite fell on a Friday evening, its descent was captured on video by many high school football fans taping local games. The descent was captured by 16 different cameras. Only a handful of meteorite falls have been caught on film —and only the 2013 Russian meteor event has been captured from more angles and localities. The multiple perspectives provided scientists with the ability to calculate the meteorite's flight path to Earth.[9]


After it smashed through the trunk of her red 1980 Chevrolet Malibu, 17-year-old Michelle Knapp [10]retrieved the meteorite, after which it was sold to a consortium of three dealers for $50,000.[11][12] Today, small specimens of Peekskill sell for approximately $125 per gram. The car, as well as the main mass of the meteorite (which currently weighs 890 grams), are in the Macovich Collection of Meteorites.[13] Additional specimens of the meteorite can be found in Chicago's Field Museum, the American National History Museum, and the Smithsonian.

After having been slowed by the Earth's atmosphere, the meteorite was traveling at approximately 164 miles per hour (264 km/h) at impact. Peekskill smashed through the Malibu’s trunk and narrowly missed the gas tank, finally coming to rest in an impact pit beneath the car. Seventeen-year-old Michelle Knapp, the car’s owner, heard the collision from inside her home. She later described the sound as “like a three-car crash”. Hurrying outside to investigate the noise, Knapp found her car smashed and the meteorite weighing 27.28 pounds (12.37 kg), or 12.4 kg [14]still warm and smelling of sulfur, beneath it.[15]

Knapp had just purchased the car for $300. Immediately following the extraterrestrial impact, it was sold to Iris Lang, wife of renowned meteorite collector and dealer Al Lang, for $25,000.[16] Since then, it has been on display in numerous museums throughout the world, including New York City’s American Museum of Natural History and France’s National Museum of Natural History.[17]

The red Malibu, the most renowned object clipped by a meteorite,[18] is now owned by the Macovich Collection in New York City, as is the largest remaining specimen of the Peekskill meteorite.[19] [20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norton, Richard (1998). Rocks from Space. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company. pp. 85–87.
  2. ^ Beech, Martin. "The Peekskill Meteorite and Fireball". University of Regina, Canada. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  3. ^ "The Meteoritical Bulletin - MB75". The Meteoritical Society.
  4. ^ "Peekskill". Montreal Planetarium. Archived from the original on 2006-05-21.
  6. ^ "Historic Meteorites and Related Americana - October 2007". Bonhams Auction House.
  7. ^ "Peekskill". The Montreal Planetarium. Archived from the original on 2006-05-21.
  8. ^ Norton, Richard. Rocks from Space.
  9. ^ Beech, Martin. "The Peekskill Meteorite and Fireball". University of Regina, Canada.
  10. ^ Gannett Suburban Newspaper Oct. 10, 11, 13, 1992
  11. ^ Norton, Richard. Rocks from Space.
  12. ^ Langheinrich, R.A. "The Peekskill Meteorite Car". Archived from the original on 2012-06-27.
  13. ^ "The Macovich Collection of Meteorites".
  14. ^ Nature magazine Vol. 367, Feb. 1994
  15. ^ Norton, O. Richard (1994). Rocks From Space. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company.
  16. ^ Norton, O. Richard. Rocks from Space.
  17. ^ "Meteorite People". Meteorite Times Magazine.
  18. ^ "Peekskill Meteorite: Top 10 Meteorites". Discovery.
  19. ^ "The Macovich Collection".
  20. ^ The Gannet Suburban Newspaper, Oct.10, 11, 12, 1992

External links[edit]

All in French.