Locals near Gladstone in Queensland got the shock of their lives last night when a suspected meteorite crashed off-shore.
Residents say they heard a loud boom and saw flashes of light at around 8.30pm on Monday night.
While Geosciences Australia has confirmed there was a tremor felt around that time, they say it wasn’t an earthquake.
“This sounds like a big [meteorite], first in several years that has been that big,” Harvard astrophysicist Johnathan Powell told the Gladstone Observer
“I’m guessing about a rock about a metre across which would have been big enough perhaps to leave fragments.”
According to Higgins Storm Chasing, ““A bright flash or light has been reported by hundreds of people, this light was seen as far South as Hervey Bay and as far North as Yeppoon with a tremor being felt upon impact over the general Gladstone area and Boyne Island.”
As Queenslanders took to social media to share their experiences, the Queensland Police had a response of their own.
Meteorites are the last stage in the existence for space rocks. Before they were meteorites, the rocks were meteors. Before they were meteors, they were meteoroids. Meteoroids are lumps of rock or metal that orbit the sun.
Meteoroids become meteors when they crash into Earth’s atmosphere and the gases surrounding them briefly light up as “shooting stars.” While most meteors burn up and disintegrate in the atmosphere, many of these space rocks reach Earth’s surface in the form of meteorites.
More than 60,000 meteorites have been found on Earth. Scientists have divided these meteorites into three main types: stony, iron, and stony-iron.
Dust-sized particles called micrometeorites make up 99 percent of the approximately 50 tonnes of space debris that falls on the Earth’s surface every day.