History: Colby - Meteors Hit Colby, WI (7 Jul 1917)

Contact: Joan Benner
Email: jmbenner@tznet.com

----Sources: WSAW.com Reporter: Katie O'Brien Email Address: kobrien@wsaw.com

Rare Meteror Event

On a dark night, if you look up at the sky, you may see a streak of light as a meteor flashes through the atmosphere.

Meteoroids, which are often fragments of comets or asteroids, become meteors once they enter earth's atmosphere.

If they hit the ground, they are called meteorites.

People often see meteors flash across the night sky, but on rare occasions, people actually see them fall to earth.

That's what happened on July 4, 1917 in Colby, Wis.

Around 6:30 p.m., loud explosions were heard with the fall of two meteors, and according to the book "Colby Wisconsin Centennial," some people came out expecting to see a Zeppelin dropping bombs.

Two meteorites, possibly from the same meteor, struck at Colby, Wis.

One weighed about 75 pounds.

"It was west of the Zion Lutheran Church, but more-so way in the field, not where the church was," says Pearl Vorland of the Colby Historical Society.

The larger of the two fell in a pasture, and was embedded about five feet into the ground.

This meteorite was very cold and frost formed on it after it was dug out of the ground.

The combined weight of the meteorites was more than 200 pounds.

Fragments of the meteorite still exist in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Geology Museum, and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

If you'd like to see a meteor shower, there's a good one coming up in August which you can watch for in a future "Eye on the Sky" segment.



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