[meteorite-list] Mystery Trench In Wales Caused By Meteorite Fall?
Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Thurs Jan 24 09:39:33 EST 2002
http://icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/regionalnews/page.cfm?objectid=11563093&method=full Experts called to investigate Snowdonia's space riddle By Gareth Hughes Daily Post (United Kingdom) January 24, 2002 A 20 METRE-LONG trench has mysteriously appeared on a remote North Wales mountainside - arousing the interest of some of Britain's leading astronomers. The gash, about 2,500ft high, between Moel Eilio and Snowdon, starts amid a cluster of smashed rocks, ending in boggy ground close to a fence. Astronomers were last night investigating the possibility the gouge mark could have been caused by a meteor smashing into the earth. Another less likely theory is that it may have been caused by a lightning strike. One expert told the Daily Post yesterday: "It is all fascinating stuff, and if it is eventually found to have been caused by a meteor it will be virtually unique in Wales." Local walkers and fell-runners first noticed some disturbance, but it was not until Caernarfon builder, Mike Blake, a member of the Eryri Harriers club, examined it in more detail that the interest of leading authorities was aroused. Mike, a keen amateur photographer, visited the site and took photographs. He has sent them to the Natural History Museum and Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. "It's clear that some natural occurrence has taken place, but what exactly it was, I just don't know," he said. " It appears that a rocky outcrop was hit and shattered, as there are fragments over a wide area. Leading away from it is a large gouge mark about 20 metres long, which ends in the boggy ground." Mike tried to clear a drainage ditch to see what lay at the bottom of the trench, but it merely filled up again. "I am desperately anxious to know what caused it, but one thing is clear, and that is that it was not caused by any vehicle," he said. He and others are adamant the damage had not occurred in October when the British Mountain Relays were held in the area. This week Mike has been in touch with the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, whose director, Professor Mark Bailey, said he was intrigued by Mike's detailed description. "There does appear to have been a violent impact with the mountainside," he said. One puzzling feature, he said, was the long trench, as that would indicate an object having hit the ground at a shallow angle, while a meteorite would be expected to approach earth much more directly. "It would be wonderful if it were a meteorite because we don't get many of them in this part of the world, but something about this does not ring true. If it were a meteorite, it would almost certainly have been clearly visible," said Professor Bailey. "It is, nonetheless, fascinating, and I shall be trying to follow this up." His concerns about the angle of trajectory and the trench were shared by Jay Tait, director of the Knighton Observatory in Powys. "It is well worth further investigation, and I shall be following this with great interest. If it were a meteorite, it would be virtually unique in Wales, the last one in England having been in the 1960s," he said. Tom Muxlow, an astronomer at Jodrell Bank Observatory, added: "It could conceivably be a meteorite but one would expect some debris, and that requires further investigation and geological analysis."
[meteorite-list] Mystery Trench In Wales Caused By Lightning Strike, Not Meteorite Fall
Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Mar 10 22:35:55 EST 2002
http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/page.cfm?objectid=11686761&method=full&siteid=50082 Meteorite theory blasted IC Wales (United Kingdom) March 9, 2002 A TRENCH thought to have been created by a meteorite on a remote mountainside was probably blasted open in a spectacular lightning strike, experts said yesterday. Astronomers travelled from Northern Ireland and Merseyside to Gwynedd to inspect the 20-yard trench on Snowdon yesterday. Experts from Armagh Observatory and Liverpool University concluded the trench was more likely to have been created by a lightning strike violent enough to scatter soil and rocks over a wide area. The trench was spotted by a fell runner in December, and investigated by Mike Blake, another local runner. He said after yesterday's trip the lightning had hit a large rock and run off through the moist peat towards a fence, boiling the water in the peat and causing an eruption. "It's nice to have finally got an answer," said Mr Blake.