Press statement by Niels Bohr Institute, Geophysical Dept. 971215 20.00UT
A big meteor impact has probably occurred in Southern Greenland at 61 25N,
44 26W on Tuesday, December 9th app. 08.11UTC (05.11am local time). The
position is on the ice cap app. 50 kilometers NE of Narsarsuaq Airport.
The position has been determined on the basis of observations made by a
Danish and a Norwegian trawler near the east coast of Greenland, and a
Danish trawler at a position in the bay off Julianehaab. Based on fairly
accurate direction findings and the fact, that the trawlers were situated
on both sides of Southern Greenland it can be determined, that the
meteorite fell on land.
The relevant trawlers are:
Halten Trawl, Norwegian at 62 05N, 41 10W
Regina C, Danish at 60 55N, 51 35W
Timmarut, Danish at 60 13N, 46 43W
Observations of the satelite lighttrack from Nuuk indicates that the
meorite passed a bit south of Nuuk in southeasterly direction towards the
mentioned impact site in Southern Greenland.
Seismic disturbances have been observed on Svalbard and Finmarka (Norway).
These tremors are observed at 08.21UTC and 08.23UTC and are assumed to
relate to the impact or the passage of the meteorite through the
atmosphere. The signals did not allow a seismic localization of the event.
The observations are made by NORSAR (Norwegian Seismic Array), Kjeller,
Norway. Fainter signals were observed in Finland and Germany. The seismic
stations in Greenland (Sonder Stromfjord and Danmarkshavn) has no
observations. Further seismic data will be collected from Iceland and
Canada in order to confirm the visual localization.
Observations from the satellites ERS1 and ERS2 are being planned. These
satellites observe the surface of the Earth using radar.
The flashes observed in conjunction with the meteorite were so bright as to
turn night into daylight at a distance of 100 kilometers and can be
compared to the light af a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere. However, we
stress that there is no reason to belive other than natural causes.
During the day, the position will be overflown by an ice reconnaissance
plane, from the Ice Central in Narsarsuaq on its planned flight from Kap
Farvel to Nuuk.
The event can in size probably be compared to the Kap York meteorite, that
in prehistoric time fell in Melville Bay, Sassivik south of Thule. Findings
from the meteorite consist of a number of iron meteorites totalling 50
tons. One of these ironfragments can be seen in Copenhagen outside the
Collecting and studying material from this meteorite has great scientific
value. It is fortunate that the meteorite fell on land, but a search on the
ice cap is difficult and in winter impeded by bad weather and darkness.
Since December 9th 30-100cm of snow has fallen in the area and before
summer smaller fragments will be covered by 3 meters of snow. According to
Danish law, findings of meteorite material must be turned over to the
authorities, in this case they will be the property of the Greenland Home
These investigations are coordinated by Geophysical Dept. at the Niels Bohr
Institute, University of Copenhagen in cooperation with:
Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Astronomical Society
National Survey and Cadastre, Denmark
NORSAR, Kjeller, Norway
Danish Center for Remote Sensing, Technical University of Denmark
The information may be quoted, if the source is indicated.
From a recent wxsat posting
First, there was, in fact, a significant meteor fall (a "bollide")
over Greenland on 9 Dec, @0821GMT. The Danish government has examined
a number of eye witness accounts and a very interesting security
camera video tape from a parking lot at Nuuk (64.2N, 51.7W). One of
cars in the lot was facing towards the bollide and acted as a partial
"whole sky camera." By surveying the location of the security camera
and the car, the Danish government and a Czech Republic scientist have
determined a high probability ellips centered at 53.2N, 46.5W. The
ellipse is 40KM by 120KM, with the long axis being approximately
east-west. This is over the Greenland ice cap where the ice is 7,000
to 9,000 feet above sea level, and 12,000 feet thick. The Danish Ice
Service is planning an aerial search for 2 January 1998.
The place where the search is now centered is about 150 Nautical Miles
(NM) East of where the seismic data (a significant 11 second event)
triangulated (63N, 51W). But that is not bad when you consider that
some of the seismographs were thousands of miles away.