November 12, 2017

2 Large Meteor Strikes Within 8 Months & 150 Miles! UPDATED

Although tons of material regularly enters earth's atmosphere, very little reaches the ground. In fact, the number of all witnessed and recovered meteorite strikes on the entire planet is only around 1100! So when two meteors strike 150 miles apart separated by a mere eight months--it's nearly unbelievable.

Yet in 1911-12 this did happen near a small railroad stop called Supai, east of Ash Fork and later over Aztec, another stop on the same railroad line! The explosive force of each was colossal and caused great panic and alarm for all who experienced it.

SUPAI, November 22, 1911:
Supia was located about 16 miles west and four miles south of Williams on the Santa Fe rail line.

It was around 10pm when there appeared "a beautiful illumination in the heavens which was clearly discernible as far away as Ash Fork, 20 miles to the west, and which was plainly seen by the many residents in that town as well as at other places along the line."

"When the terrific impact occurred, it flashed over the country in a brilliant spray (and) there was a jar that was felt for a radius of five miles. The supposition of many was that an earthquake had occurred."

The fun story of early car love and automobile racing. It was the inaugural running of the Arizona Gazzette Cup-- Only 1 car was able to drive back to Prescott, Arizona!

The next morning several Supai residents went to the spot to make an investigation.  They discovered that "it cratered the ground to a depth of at least 45 feet, boring a hole that was estimated at 25 feet in diameter." Interestingly "a dense vapor was being emitted from the bottom of the hole, and owing to the intense heat it was impossible to make close observations of the result of this atmospheric phenomenon."

It took 24 hours for the site to cool sufficiently to even look into the crater. "A stampede from many stations along the line took many people to Supai, but other than seeing the excavation made by the stray visitor from the sky, nothing of interest in scientific research was revealed." (*b)

Plans were immediately made by an association of people to "recover the meteoric iron sphere that is much desired by many scientists."

AZTEC, July 20, 1912:
"Winslow, Holbrook and country adjacent for a radius of over 30 miles were thrown into a state of excitement...that bordered close to a panic when a meteor passed over that country and exploded at a height estimated at 1000 to 1500 feet," the newspaper reported. 

"The meteor was seen approaching from the northwest at about 6:45pm and when it had reached a point about seven miles southeast of Holbrook and over the little station of Aztec on the Santa Fe Railroad, it entered a rain cloud, when a terrific explosion followed."

The detonation was distinctly felt at Concho, 40 miles to the east, and at Pine Dale, 50 miles to the south. Citizens of both burgs were alarmed.

"It was the strongest ever witnessed in that country and not only created excitement but occasioned many to become so alarmed that a wild stampede followed."

Place name origins & early histories of: Prescott, Chino, Jerome Junction, Del Rio Springs, Paulden, Sullivan Lake, Hell's Canyon, and Ash Fork.

"After the first explosion a vast cloud of smoke or vapor arose in the heavens and gradually passed away. At the point of contact the soil was trenched for over two miles to a depth of 6 inches in many places."

Where the meteor struck at Aztec, "the section foreman and his helpers gathered over 200 pounds of the (material), the largest fragment weighing 15 pounds."

Many searchers for the stray, celestial visitor went to the scene to trace it by the surface conditions. It was "presumed to be of immense size and (worth) several thousand dollars in value."

It was reported that the found fragments were to be sent to the Smithsonian. The matrices were unlike any of the rocks normally found in the area "and was foreign to mineralogy in construction as observed in mining in this country."

Of course not all the material made it to the Smithsonian. ES Clark, noted Prescott attorney, who was in Holbrook attending court at the time, brought a piece back to Prescott and put it on display at his office in the Bank of Arizona building.

Since the writing of this article, the author uncovered this newspaper account of another meteor strike in 1920: (From the Weekly Journal-Miner, 2/11/1920 Pg. 3, Col. 4.)


Tourist Tip:
There was another famous meteor impact in the general area 50,000 years ago. "The world’s best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth": Meteor Crater!

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Weekly Journal-Miner 11/29/1911 Pg. 2 Col. 6
Weekly Journal-Miner 7/31/1912, Pg. 6 Col. 4. 

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