Earthquake turns out to be an exploding meteorite
Hundreds of Carinthians were left terrified thinking they had been hit by an earthquake after a meteorite exploded over their homes early yesterday (Thurs, 9APR09).
Locals said the meteorite exploded at about 3AM with what sounded like an enormous thunder clap followed by rumbling and howling. Hans Handler from Velden told the newspaper Österreich yesterday: "I though it was either an earthquake or a crashing airplane."Experts at an observatory at Gerlitzen near Villach said the meteorite had reached a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius after entering the earth’s atmosphere. They added the bang it had caused had been heard over a wide area of the province.
Hermann Mucke, the long-time chief of an astronomical office in Vienna, told the newspaper: "The meteorite produced a glow of an electric nature. Most such meteorites are detected at altitudes ranging from 80 to 120 kilometres."
Mucke added, however, that it would be impossible to prove that the phenomenon had been a meteorite. He said there was only one so-called "fireball" camera in Austria, which was located in the Waldviertel far from Carinthia, and so there were no photos of what had lit up the Carinthian sky yesterday morning.