Greensburg meteorite missing

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
May 12 2007 9:25 PM

Greensburg meteorite missing

Update (May 13): I love my commenters! The meteorite has been found; in fact, it appears it was found well before I posted this entry. I didn't find any info before I posted, but maybe my Google mojo had abandoned me. Anyway, this is good news, in a place that could really use some.

My in-laws live in Kansas, but I've never been to Greensburg (even though it's about an hour from their house). Now if I go it'll be different: it's the town that was just literally destroyed by a tornado.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

If there were any reason I'd go, it would have been to see their Pallasite meteorite, my favorite kind. They had a huge one that was found there, and in fact several have been found nearby in recent times. They have an ugly exterior, like slag, but when you cut them open they're spectacular. They have translucent greenish-yellow olivine crystals lodged in an iron matrix, and if you cut them into thin slices and hold them up to the light, they are spectacular.

I'm not nearly as sad about that as I am over everything else that happened to those poor folks there, of course. I was slack-jawed looking at images from the town. That meteorite was the town's prized possession, and it's gone too. Man, that is an incredible bummer.

I have to add-- when we'd drive through Kansas, we'd see signs for Greensburg, and they'd say that it was the home of the Pallasite meteorite and the world's largest hand-dug well. We'd have to laugh, because a well seems like a silly thing to promote. Then, a long time later, I actually saw a pamphlet about the well. Wow. It really is big. It's not the kind of thing I'd like to go visit, but then I can imagine a lot of people would see the meteorite and think it's not a big deal because it's just a rock. Different strokes. But I'm just saying -- that's a big well.

I imagine it's still there. I also imagine they'll find the meteorite, eventually. It's about a meter across, and it's almost solid iron, so it's not likely to get too damaged (though I'd hate to see anything it might have hit at 400 kph inside that tornado). I hope they do. It sounds silly, maybe, but I bet if they find it it'll cheer the town up a lot.

Tip of the Whipple shield to Thoughts from Kansas.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.