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Rock from outer space 'may have just missed us'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 20, 2012

Artist's impression of a meteorite fall

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A meteorite could be lying in seas off south Devon after hurtling at thousands of miles an hour to earth from between Mars and Jupiter, according to experts.

On Thursday, police lines were swamped with callers reporting loud bangs and buildings shaking at about 4.15pm in parts of Devon and Cornwall.

Reports flooded in from Harrowbarrow in south east Cornwall, the South Hams and Teignbridge areas of south Devon, the Tamar Valley and Dartmoor.

The British Geological Survey said the noise could have been a sonic boom from a meteorite plummeting to earth.

Brian Sheen director of Roseland Observatory in Cornwall said with no evidence of an earthquake reported by the BGS, thunder or RAF jets in the area the only likely explanation was a meteorite.

He said: "It's really very exciting – a joining-up of us with space, so to speak.

"The meteorite is probably made of rock and iron and part of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.

"From the direction the sonic boom was reported to come from, my best guess is the meteorite is likely to be in the sea off the South Hams.

"As yet no one has found any bits which suggests it could be in the sea – but I would still urge people to keep an eye out and report it to me at the observatory."

Police staff in Devon's Newton Abbot station also said the floor shook.

Insp Gareth Twigg, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said the initial waves of calls reported sounds like an explosion.

He said: "Further calls also described noise and then objects shaking. One lady on Dartmoor who was alive during the Second World War said it was like a bomb going off.

"We checked with the British Geological Survey to ask if it was because of a tremor, but they said it may have been caused by something a little more spectacular – possibly a sonic boom from a meteorite as it caused pressure changes in the atmosphere while falling.

"It appears nothing has struck the earth that has caused any damage or injury."

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  • robocop1982  |  October 20 2012, 10:08PM

    Just kidding

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  • robocop1982  |  October 20 2012, 10:07PM

    these ufos certainly don't like us

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  • robocop1982  |  October 20 2012, 9:57PM

    probably some overgrown school boy pilots who wouldn't obey noise abatement procedures. HOwever if it wasn't meteorites or our airplanes then what was it. I'm not saying there is any fact in this story at all though as i do not let my mind become trapped in wild stories on websites. In the past though pilots who have seen ufo craft or alien craft have reported bad booms and electronic interference. Did anybody experience strong electronic interference or fuzz feeling. If you think ufos are not real you are wrong. PIlots have identified them so they are not even ufos anymore. One guy said they were brown in colour. Similar to a lobster shell in texture and colour. According to jean jean charles duboc of airfrance. THats interesting in some ways as when you heat carbon steel to very high tempretures on high pressure burners it turns a kind of rusty brown colour through repeated high heat exposure. air france pilot said the flying disc he saw was brown in colour. If you continue to deny what airline pilots already have seen you are very foolish. THe fact is something travelling towards our planet would likely make strange noises or booms. I'm not saying there is any truth in this story at all though but the pilot ufo reports are not hoaxes. take my word for it

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  • arf2012  |  October 20 2012, 7:10PM

    Reminded me of the good ol' days when Concorde used to fly over!

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  • Cknocker  |  October 20 2012, 4:06PM

    And who says there were no Jets in the area? There are frequently RAF, NAVY and USAF jets in the Tamar valley. Only on Wednesday I was driving from Gunnislake to Saltash when a USAF jet passed over the top of my car so close it made me jump out of my skin. Personally I think the noise was a jet "Overcooking it" a little a going supersonic at low altitude.

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