Skip to comments.Fire at Auckland Warehouse Caused by Meteorite Impact? (Update)
Posted on 12/14/2008 11:06:09 PM PST by LibWhacker
Update (16:00 PST Dec. 14th): Eyewitness accounts are becoming more detailed, if you were in the Auckland area at 10pm (December 13th) and you saw something, please let me know (by leaving a comment below). Please give as detailed an account as possible, including your location and the direction at which you saw the meteorite. Hopefully well piece this event together
A fire erupted in an Auckland warehouse shortly after several eyewitness reported seeing a meteorite over the North Island of New Zealand. One witness (named Mike) even went as far to say that he watched the fiery object hit the Ponsonby area of the city, followed by an exploding noise.
The time of the several eyewitness reports (not amateur astronomer reports I want to point out) and the start of the blaze appears to correlate (although the local media is a little sketchy about the details at the moment). Apparently the fire caused serious roof damage to the warehouse and there was one minor casualty (a man who happened to be in the building at the time). However, none of the surrounding buildings were touched.
The meteorite was observed at around 10pm last night, and the fire was eventually extinguished at 11:30pm.
Before we go leaping to conclusions, blaming the property damage on cosmic pay-back, well have to wait for more details. If this meteorite had so many eyewitnesses, one would hope the bright event was caught on a camera at some point. It would be nice to find out whether there was an all-sky camera or some kind of survey peering into the night sky at the time. As with the Colorado fireball last week, and the Saskatchewan fireball in November, there were no shortages of CCTV camera images, police car videos, camcorder snaps and observatory all-sky camera videos of the sky.
Although Auckland stands just as much chance of being hit by a meteorite as the rest of the world, New Zealand isnt exactly a big target. Plus, I think the police will be having words with the guy who just happened to be in the building at the time. Unless he loves his job that much or he had a late project to work on ? I dont know, but I doubt the fire investigators first priority will be to look for meteorite fragments.
Call me cynical, but I think Exhibit A will be a petrol canister and not a chunk of charred rock from outer space. Place your bets now, Ill update this article with news as I get it.
A New Zealand-based Astroengine.com reader followed up this article with her account of the possibility of a meteorite causing the Ponsonby fire:
I saw the meteorite from the top of Mount Eden and I have a BSc in Geology so have a good understanding of what I saw. The blinding green flash was the meteorite entering our atmosphere, it didnt seem to break the sound barrier as it entered. It looked like it was burning out and left a vapor trail that hung for about five minutes. It was going very fast and would have been burning at about 2,000 degrees, the same as basaltic magma. To clarify, a meteorite is smaller than a metre in diameter and they are not that rare. The meteorite was travelling towards the Ponsonby area and I am not at all suprised that it caused a building to ignite. - Melissa (comment below)
This is interesting as this appears to be the most detailed eyewitness account so far, thank you Melissa for your help. Were you in Auckland at the time of the blaze? Your account could help piece together what happened. Feel free to leave a comment and Ill credit you in this article. Thanks!
Source: NZ Herald
I bet their insurance policy has an exclusion for fires caused by meteorites.
I didn’t see or hear the meteorite, but there were people on the radio reporting it.
About Ponsonby, the supposed target area:
Ponsonby is one of the “artsy/trendy” parts of Auckland City, with plenty of people around, seldom deserted at any time of day or nite (particularly busy Saturday).
Old-style homes circa 1910-1930, narrow back-streets. Quite a desirable neighborhood for some folk.
There is a large homosexualist community in Ponsonby, and each year they put on a “Hero Parade”, something like the Mardi Gras. Although it always loses money, this parade draws in lots of tourists and visitors.
Chances are good there will be further witnesses if it was indeed a meteorite.
...”THEIR HERE!” Who is THEIR? Perhaps you meant THEY’RE HERE, in any case send them here, to pick me up, off the planet, or back to New Zealand, Auckland with be fine...
Take me with you.
...Could be valiable if found, hope no injuries to anyone at the impact zone, will keep up with this, op yer let us know what yer hear...
It is REALLY REALLY RARE for a meteorite to cause a fire. Not impossible, but oh... somewhere between 1 in 250,000 to 1 in 500,000 I’d guess.
> It is REALLY REALLY RARE for a meteorite to cause a fire. Not impossible, but oh... somewhere between 1 in 250,000 to 1 in 500,000 Id guess.
Ponsonby’s buildings are mostly constructed out of old timber. Given the age of the buildings, I’d speculate much of that timber would be kauri — a hardwood impregnated with natural resin. Burns well.
If I had to speculate further I could surmise maybe 250,000 more plausible causes for a building fire in Pononby than a meteorite. Like a clandestine methamphetamines lab, for instance.
...OK, but yer have to get to Lexington KY. I have a wife, stepson, daughter-in-law, a grandson, and four grand-daughters. Going to New Zealand might incur help with the monetary package deal. My brother is a booking agent with United Airlines, in Denver, Colorado. If yer intentions are leaving the planet, we might be waiting for the mothership for a while. I hope they’ll give me a call back soon. Shht, I’m ready for a Greyhound Bus, abduct me out of Kentucky, anywhere...
We need separate insurances for flood and earthquake, I wounder if this guy is covered?
Coincidence as I clicked on this thread I was also watchin the doc theory that a ten thou mega ton blast of a meaterite hit somdom and gomorrah.
Makes since then how the Mrs. who turned into a pillar of salt.
Since our bodies have such a high content of salt and then vaporize the whole body and you would have a chunck of rock salt left.
(totally speculation on my part)
I have a friend that is a famous professional meteorite hunter. He says that there were a few that might have caused some fires, but it is a very rare situation with freakish coincidences.
> Coincidence as I clicked on this thread I was also watchin the doc theory that a ten thou mega ton blast of a meaterite hit somdom and gomorrah.
Interesting theory. If God can do this once, then He can certainly do it again. There are places on this earth (like San Francisco) where it might not pay to be too close to on Judgment Day. Ponsonby might just be another. So might Rio de Janiero...
NASA says otherwise
NASA says otherwise about global warming too. They have been caught cooking the books.
It is an interesting possibility re: the Chicago fire. Blame it on the Irish, or some other cause?
Remember Ponsonby Britt?