The “meteorite” that hit a French woman was just an ordinary earth rock that fell from a roof, the wheels of an airplane or was thrown by burglars to see if anyone was home, according to experts

A woman who claimed to have been struck by a meteorite earlier this month may actually have been hit by ordinary Earth rock, experts have claimed.

The anonymous victim had a coffee with a friend on the terrace of his house in Schirmeck, in the northeast Francewhen she “felt a shock in the ribs”.

This followed a bang on the roof above her, suggesting that a space rock may have crashed there before falling and hitting the woman.

At first she thought it was an animal or a bat, before noticing a rock the size of a golf ball that looked like “a piece of cement” from a tile.

She ruled this out on the grounds that the color did not match and instead gave it to the local geologist, Dr. Thierry Rebmann, for identification.

Disputed claim: A woman who said she was hit by a meteorite earlier this month may in fact have been hit by an ordinary Earth rock, experts have claimed (file photo)

LEARN MORE: The only time a meteorite killed a human

Researchers found evidence of a meteorite that killed one man and left another paralyzed in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq in August 1888 (file photo)

He said it contained a mixture of iron and silicon, which is typical of meteorites.

“It does not correspond to a volcanic rock in the Val de Bruche sector. In view of the testimony of this lady, it is likely that it is a meteorite, especially since the rock has been very strongly heated, ”adds Dr. Rebmann.

But several experts have disputed this claim.

Paris Observatory astronomer Jérémie Vaubaillon said photos shared with a local newspaper “clearly show that it is not a meteorite”.

He told MailOnline there were ‘too many angles’ to come from space, adding that the meteorites had ‘no sharp, jagged points because the rock melts as it enters the atmosphere due to the surrounding super hot plasma”.

Vaubaillon described this reaction as being like a melting ice cube, where the angular pieces quickly disappear.

The rock also has a “bubbled” and irregular surface – characteristics that match volcanic rock, where bubbles of lava are frozen as the molten material cools rapidly.

Besides containing lots of holes and bubbles, the specimen also lacks the smooth surfaces that meteorites tend to have due to the heat they experience.

Not only that, but there is no thin black film or “fusion crust” that is common with space rocks.

Vaubaillon, like other experts, is perplexed as to the origin of the rock.

Some say he probably fell off a roof or was thrown off the road, possibly by burglars checking to see if anyone was home.

Besides containing lots of holes and bubbles, the specimen also lacks the smooth surfaces that meteorites tend to have due to the heat they experience. Not only that, but there is no thin black film or “fusion crust” that is common with space rocks. It is a typical meteorite

Geologist Barbara Gollain, from the Mineralogy Museum in Strasbourg, said it looked more like a steel slag than a space rock.

Slag is a by-product of the smelting of the ores and metal used and may contain iron and silicon, such as meteorites. It is used in the construction industry, in cement and to build roads.

This would support the theory that the rock came either from the roof or from the road, but definitely not from space.

Dr Richard Greenwood, a planetary and space science researcher at the Open University, told MailOnline it could even be a small stone that fell from the wheels of an airplane.

The final stumbling block in the theory that the rock came from outer space is that it caused no damage to the roof on the morning it is believed to have struck.

According to François Colas, astronomer of the Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network (FRIPON) sky monitoring network, when a meteorite falls from the sky, it tends to crash into the surface at a speed of 300 km/h.

It would have caused quite a bit of damage to the roof.

The woman claimed she was hit by a meteorite while having coffee with a friend in Schirmeck, north-eastern France.
The only person ever killed by a space rock was a man in present-day Iraq in 1888. Pictured is the likely trajectory of this meteorite

FRIPON is also monitoring the skies of France for flashes of light caused by meteors and none were detected in the region on July 6, the day of the incident.

‘Such an object reaches magnitude -15 [with the minus prefix indicating a particularly bright object over Earth]; it does not go unnoticed. In this season, there are also many amateur astronomers observing; they would have reported such an event,” Colas said. French astronomy publication Ciel & Espace.

The woman and her friend were sitting on her patio when the recent incident happened around 4 a.m. on July 6, she told local newspaper Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace.

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“I heard a big ‘poom’ coming from the roof next to us,” she said.

“In the second that followed, I felt a shock on the ribs. I thought it was an animal, a bat.

“We thought it was a piece of cement, the one we apply to the ridge tiles, but it didn’t have the color.”

It’s unclear where the rock is now, but Dr Rebmann has previously suggested scientists should study it further to confirm its exact origin.

According to NASA, Earth is bombarded with more than 100 tons of dust and sand particles every day, but most burn before they reach the planet’s surface.

Golf ball-sized meteorites hit Earth every few years, but the frequency of their impact on populated areas is even lower.

This is especially the case because the surface of our planet is approximately 71% ocean.

Boulders tend to be more easily spotted when they land in a desert, as they contrast with the stark landscape and are less likely to be covered in dirt or vegetation.

“It’s very rare in our temperate environments to find them,” Dr. Rebmann said.

‘They merge with other elements. On the other hand, in a desert environment, they are more easily found.’

This isn’t the first time someone has been hit by a space rock.

The only known person to have been hit by a space rock was an Alabama woman, Ann Hodges, who was hit by a grapefruit-sized meteorite in November 1954.

He crashed into the roof of her house while she slept and hit her upper thigh and hand, but she survived the ordeal and suffered only bruises.

According to a 2020 study, the only recorded case of a meteorite killing a human dates back more than 130 years.

At the time, the study’s authors found evidence of a meteorite that killed one man and left another paralyzed after falling “like rain” on the Iraqi village of Sulaymaniyah in August 1888.

The event was only discovered in 2020 because the documents describing it were written in an old Turkish-Ottoman language that is difficult to translate.

The documents, written by local authorities and sent to the government, described how “a strong bright light was accompanied by smoke and was moving towards a village”.

The translation went on to say that the meteorites fell for a period of about ten minutes “like rain”, killing one man and seriously injuring another.

Explained: The Difference Between An Asteroid, Meteorite, And Other Space Rocks

A asteroid is a large piece of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the main belt.

A comet is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much farther from the solar system.

A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns.

These debris themselves are known as meteoroid. Most are so small that they vaporize into the atmosphere.

If one of these meteoroids arrives on Earth, it is called a meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally come from asteroids and comets.

For example, if the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.

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