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Strange rocky material fell from the sky with odd surface features and microbiology inside it


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10 hours ago, studiot said:

@Bazil_SW

I looked at you two videos but could not determine very much.

In particular I could not determine the trajectory of your object.

Did you actually see it fall ?

(Some of the objects in the article I linked to were actually witnessed 'dropping out of the sky)

Can you say if it fell more or less straight down or if it came in at some flat trajectory angle or what ?

We had both bay windows open in the bedroom and just after we'd gone to bed we heard an odd moderately loud noise that lasted 3-4s and had pronounced Doppler shift. It was a warbling whine with an underlying hum, like machinery or electricity discharging rapidly.  We could tell it was in the air rather than on the road outside.

In the morning I checked the CCTV, sadly it doesn't record sound, and found the footage posted above, albeit at full speed.  In it I saw a piece bounce off the house so opened the front door a small brown black piece of unusual rock, roughly 12mm across  was just sitting there on the drive.  It had a pungent burnt smell.  Looking at the footage I followed it's path back and found the witness mark on the wall where it had ricocheted off the house.
 
Initially I'd assumed the fireball was travelling left --> right parallel to the road so only checked people's CCTV along the street (which is pretty straight anyway) and only found the one other footage.  At the time I'd not appreciated we were seeing a reflection of the fireball on the house and trees in their footage.  It wasn't until 6 or 7 weeks later my friend analysed our footage frame-by-frame and created the above composit (see OP) that shows the object breaking apart right outside the house.  I cut the bushes back and found loads more fragments resting on the top soil.
 
From the footage and fragments fall area I've estimated trajectory and approx. incident angle.  The trajectory estimate as just off N --> S such that if you extend out it would intersect the middle of Iceland (hence the question could it be volcanic), and incident angle ~27degrees.  The other footage was taken from 0.1 miles away, so that would indicate the fireball was at ~80-90m altitude as it passed over and behind their house.
 
Regarding the fanfair of the Winchombe event, I can't really comment why, if it is indeed a meteorite fall, more people didn't see/hear/record it.  I also don't consider that, on its own, rules it out either - the universe is a big place full of oddities, and we're still discovering stuff every day!
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3 hours ago, Bazil_SW said:

We had both bay windows open in the bedroom and just after we'd gone to bed we heard an odd moderately loud noise that lasted 3-4s and had pronounced Doppler shift. It was a warbling whine with an underlying hum, like machinery or electricity discharging rapidly.  We could tell it was in the air rather than on the road outside...........

 

Thank you for this useful information.

I am not doubting you, just trying to establish a few facts.

I am not a volcanologist or meteorologist, my main knowledge of geology is engineering geology and geophysics.

 

You have indicated that experts you have approaced have been lukewarm in their interest.
A pity.

 

I have a suggestion.

Dr Ian Stewart presented a BBC series called Earth The power of the Planet in the early 2000s.

He included a section where he was taken into the Australian Outback by an expert meteoroligist to hunt for meteor fragments and another section on volcanology.

 

I suggest you approach him as he will either have a personal interest in your story or the contacts with those who will.
Perhaps even in the TV industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Stewart_(geologist)

@Bazil_SW

3 hours ago, Bazil_SW said:

From the footage and fragments fall area I've estimated trajectory and approx. incident angle.  The trajectory estimate as just off N --> S such that if you extend out it would intersect the middle of Iceland (hence the question could it be volcanic), and incident angle ~27degrees.  The other footage was taken from 0.1 miles away, so that would indicate the fireball was at ~80-90m altitude as it passed over and behind their house.

Here is a paper on the 2010 eruption in Iceland.

Ejecta certainly reached Brum and further.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep00572

I haven't found any such papers on the 2021 eruption.  It's probably too early for papers on this yet and it was much smaller and gentler anyway.

Edited by studiot
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On 8/27/2021 at 11:31 AM, studiot said:

 

Thank you for this useful information.

I am not doubting you, just trying to establish a few facts.

I am not a volcanologist or meteorologist, my main knowledge of geology is engineering geology and geophysics.

 

You have indicated that experts you have approaced have been lukewarm in their interest.
A pity.

 

I have a suggestion.

Dr Ian Stewart presented a BBC series called Earth The power of the Planet in the early 2000s.

He included a section where he was taken into the Australian Outback by an expert meteoroligist to hunt for meteor fragments and another section on volcanology.

 

I suggest you approach him as he will either have a personal interest in your story or the contacts with those who will.
Perhaps even in the TV industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Stewart_(geologist)

@Bazil_SW

Here is a paper on the 2010 eruption in Iceland.

Ejecta certainly reached Brum and further.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep00572

I haven't found any such papers on the 2021 eruption.  It's probably too early for papers on this yet and it was much smaller and gentler anyway.

Thanks for the suggestion and paper.  Iain pointed me to the NHM. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sadly the Natural History Museam (London) were not able to further this investigation, so it has stalled and I think it's as far as I can take it.

I'd like to preface my reasoning for pursuing it even this far, with a series of logical statements:

- did the material fall from the sky = YES
- is it unusual and have strange surface features = YES
- did it fall at the start the Perseids shower (caused by the debris field of comet Swift-Tuttle) = YES
- are there any confirmed cometary meteorites in the collections = NO
- does the material contain microbiology = YES apparently undamaged diatoms and other structures are embedded deep inside the fragments and within the material matrix
- has this happened before = YES, reference Polonnaruwa stones 2012 (though these findings are not universally accepted)

The investigations to date (SEM, EDX, EDX & XRPD, EDX & petrographic) were not able identify characteristics akin to existing meteorites, nor any of the expected characteristics of meteoritic materials, but it still remains unidentified. I have not been able to confirm the age or origin of the material by analysis such as Triple Oxygen Isotope, Cosmic Ray Exposure (as these are highly specialized), or even if it has a 'terrestrial' age by carbon dating. The prevailing theme is that that the material is anthropogenic, and possibly the remnents of an artificial satellite that have fallen back to earth. That might explain the:

- observable differences between adjoining fragments (perhaps different components?)
- some of the odd biological looking structures found on the outside (perhaps something collected from the atmosphere?)

However that does not answer anything relating to the intact biologicial structures found inside the material.

The anonymized petrographic report is uploaded in post #16 here: Treasurenet Forum Post, because there is no capacity to add more files to this post.

To be clear, I'm not claiming that this material is one thing or another, instead putting it, and what I have found, out there for posterity and open discussion.

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Firstly thank you for coming back and telling us what is going on. +1

I couldn't find any reference to these 'diatoms' in the petrological report you linked to. ?

If there are biological remnents included the question of how they got there is a good one.

On Earth, microorganisms will start to grow on cooled pyroclastic material (old lava).
Obviously some will overlay the old eruptive/outflow site.
So in a later eruption some of this will be blasted skywards, rather than remelted.
thus offering a viable mechanism.

I'm not saying this is what happened, just that it should be considered.

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I'm surprised a geosciences department at a university would not take an interest.   Sounds like a great project for a professor to assign some graduate students to assist with.   

The photos/description of the pieces doesn't seem a good fit with remnants of an artificial satellite.   Given the trajectory, the theory of volcanic ejecta from Iceland seems worth pursuing,  and I would imagine a vulcanologist at someplace like U. of Hawaii-Manoa or     Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand would be equipped to do an analysis.   

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3 hours ago, studiot said:

Firstly thank you for coming back and telling us what is going on. +1

I couldn't find any reference to these 'diatoms' in the petrological report you linked to. ?

If there are biological remnents included the question of how they got there is a good one.

On Earth, microorganisms will start to grow on cooled pyroclastic material (old lava).
Obviously some will overlay the old eruptive/outflow site.
So in a later eruption some of this will be blasted skywards, rather than remelted.
thus offering a viable mechanism.

I'm not saying this is what happened, just that it should be considered.

All suggestions welcome!

The petrographic report was for the material only, I didn't mention about the biological structures until after when I had a video call to discuss the results - from experience it's better not to mention until after, if at all.

The SEM images of the biological structures were taken at MRI Colombo (Sri Lanka), in Nov 2020, as I sent 2 fragments to the same team that did the initial work up on the Polonnaruwa stones that fell in Dec 2012.  Sadly he was only able to get a few SEM images from fresh fracture faces, most of which are included in this forum already, before he was moved to head up the Covid testing lab as it hit hard and continues to.  His initial reaction was that what we were seeing looked similar.  That said, after analysis, the Polonnaruwa material has many characteristics akin to known meteorites, but mine does not appear to.  I have seen various biological structures (diatoms, and filamentous etc) on fresh fractures under an optical microscope too.

 

1 hour ago, zapatos said:

Is it possible this material is the amalgamation of whatever fell plus whatever terrestrial material it landed on?

 

One fragment fell on a concrete drive (clean, i.e. not cover in moss etc) and was collected the next morning, not exposed to rain or moisture as it was dry and warm all evening - this is one of the two I sent to Sri Lanka for the study of the structures inside. (Fragment #1 image OP). 

The others were found resting on the top soil in the garden aligned to where they fell, so they had soil on the surface but I cleaned them up.   Fragment #14 was the other of the two I sent to Sri Lanka: F #14  (hosted on imgur)

Edited by Bazil_SW
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25 minutes ago, Bazil_SW said:

One fragment fell on a concrete drive (clean, i.e. not cover in moss etc) and was collected the next morning, not exposed to rain or moisture as it was dry and warm all evening - this is one of the two I sent to Sri Lanka for the study of the structures inside. (Fragment #1 image OP). 

The others were found resting on the top soil in the garden aligned to where they fell, so they had soil on the surface but I cleaned them up.   Fragment #14 was the other of the two I sent to Sri Lanka: F #14  (hosted on imgur)

Just trying to get a complete picture here...

Do you know it fell on the concrete or did you just collect it from there? For example, were there any impact marks on the drive?

I don't know enough about things that fall from space but are they hot enough to melt some of what they land on? That's where I was wondering if what you found picked up the diatoms by fusing with something on the ground either from the heat or the impact.

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58 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I don't know enough about things that fall from space but are they hot enough to melt some of what they land on?

I don't think this object can have fallen from space.

The chem analysis shows an amazing % carbon so it did not travel very fast through the atmousphere or it would have burned up.

chemanalysis1.jpg.6c7251b096410bb9be08c0193adf1eae.jpg

Sorry about the ? mark, I chose a sigma from the character set but it seems to have come out as ? mark.

 

The other interesting thing about this analysis is the absence of hydrogen.

However at 45% carbon I would guess some industrial chimney (there are plenty of these around Birmingham) or other was being cleaned out that night.
If you have seen industrial chimneys at night you can often see the sparks and or material be ejected.

 

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3 hours ago, TheVat said:

I'm surprised a geosciences department at a university would not take an interest.   Sounds like a great project for a professor to assign some graduate students to assist with.   

The photos/description of the pieces doesn't seem a good fit with remnants of an artificial satellite.   Given the trajectory, the theory of volcanic ejecta from Iceland seems worth pursuing,  and I would imagine a vulcanologist at someplace like U. of Hawaii-Manoa or     Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand would be equipped to do an analysis.   

Before the petrographic analysis I approached an author of a paper on volcanic bombs and they confirmed 2 things at least:
 
The material is compositionally different to volcanic material and certainly different to anything from Iceland.
 
A piece weighing several 100 grams wouldn't travel that far.
 
I also approached many academics from various fields, with little interest, most either didn't reply, or pointed me to the NHM London, who appear to be a sort of 'gatekeeper'.
 
I suspect with the petrographic report, the response would be even more tepid, and that's why I asked them for the prefacing email, imaged in the linked post. 
 
 
2 hours ago, zapatos said:

Just trying to get a complete picture here...

Do you know it fell on the concrete or did you just collect it from there? For example, were there any impact marks on the drive?

I don't know enough about things that fall from space but are they hot enough to melt some of what they land on? That's where I was wondering if what you found picked up the diatoms by fusing with something on the ground either from the heat or the impact.

No worries, I'm happy to share it all and answer any questions.

Yes for sure I know it did - the answer is probably best served by looking at some reports I've put together over the last year or so (linked on dropbox, you might need to copy and paste them into the address bar it did not work in preview mode for some reason):

 
 
 
Edited by Bazil_SW
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The EDX analysis of high carbon content,  the somewhat granular look, the interstitial O2, the diatomaceous stuff, all do seem to rule out the more exotic origins.  When the term "fireball" is used it can generate confusion as that term is often used for objects heated atmospherically -- your account, @Bazil_SW, seems to suggest simply that it was on fire and may have been burning when it was ejected from its source.   I wonder if a kiln stack was lined with some kind of sedimentary material (marine derived?) that was ejected in an explosion.   

While you would expect some public record of such a mishap,  I'm not confident that all companies are scrupulous about reporting, or owning up to,  embarrassing accidents.   

4 hours ago, studiot said:

I would guess some industrial chimney (there are plenty of these around Birmingham) or other was being cleaned out that night.
If you have seen industrial chimneys at night you can often see the sparks and or material be ejected.

 

I see you were thinking along similar lines.   I just don't see a cleaning operation sending material of that mass any distance (and I presume Basil would notice if he were living immediately adjacent to an industrial stack) or igniting it in this way.  This all suggests to me something accidentally went BOOM.   

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Just to add that soot is made of carbon.

Naphthalene produces sooty deposits and is a widely used industrial feedstock.

46 minutes ago, TheVat said:

I wonder if a kiln stack was lined with some kind of sedimentary material (marine derived?) that was ejected in an explosion.   

The minerals listed are refractory oxides, and therefore more likelyof artificial rather than geological origin.

dunno about an actual explosion, stacks and chimneys are(used to be ?) cleaned by burning off sooty deposits.
hence the night time display of sparks I referred to.
The updraft from a powerful stack can carry particles quite some distance.

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14 hours ago, studiot said:

I don't think this object can have fallen from space.

The chem analysis shows an amazing % carbon so it did not travel very fast through the atmousphere or it would have burned up.

Your comment on the carbon burn up is reflected elsewhere also (Treasurenet post).  From the video and taking some measurements outside, I estimate the fireball object object (term used in the very literal sense!) was travelling ~8 mph by the time it was in our frame.  That's also corroborated by the timestamp on the other CCTV footage which was 0.1 miles away assuming both our timestamps are/were set from the internet (22:09:52 & 22:10:35).

Something from an industrial accident I'd consider and did a search, but as mentioned, companies may not report them, or at least it may not make the news / be available online.  I don't live 'near' anything that industrial, but Birmingham is very industrial - without giving away too much about where I live, the attached image would be my estimated 'corridor'.  I'll scour the maps and do some research! https://i.imgur.com/JmWyib0.jpg

 

9 hours ago, studiot said:

dunno about an actual explosion, stacks and chimneys are(used to be ?) cleaned by burning off sooty deposits.
hence the night time display of sparks I referred to.
The updraft from a powerful stack can carry particles quite some distance.

Do you have a link to a video?

 

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On 9/22/2021 at 12:59 PM, studiot said:

I don't think this object can have fallen from space.

I agree.

If there were any doubts the following clearly shows that it was not from space.

On 9/22/2021 at 6:33 AM, Bazil_SW said:

- does the material contain microbiology = YES apparently undamaged diatoms and other structures are embedded deep inside the fragments and within the material matrix

 

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It looks the Iron Bridge power plant is / was being demolished around that time (and still) so I've asked the company running it if anything happened on the 17th July 2020.

As another angle, does anyone know how I could get the material radio carbon dated?  I've tried a few private labs and they say they only take work from recognised institutions....

Edited by Bazil_SW
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Reply from the Ironbridge demolition company....

 

"

I’ve been sent the email you sent our enquiries address, regarding the object falling onto your drive on the evening of 17th July.

Whilst I’ll raise this issue with the demolition team at the Ironbridge power station, as far as I’m aware no works were being undertaken on this date which could have been responsible for the debris, indeed all works cease by 13.00 on a Saturday.

Hope you mange to solve this mystery.

Regards,"

 

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