Large meteorite strikes in Norway

Monday, June 12, 2006

A large meteorite slammed into the side of a mountain near the area of Troms and Finnmark in Norway at about 2:05 a.m. on June 9, 2006.

Scientists say the explosive force of the meteorite could have been "compared to the Hiroshima bomb." Truls Lynne Hansen of the Northern Lights Observatory, however, called this description "an exaggeration."

"This is simply exceptional. I cannot imagine that we have had such a powerful meteorite impact in Norway in modern times. If the meteorite was as large as it seems to have been, we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb. There were ground tremors, a house shook and a curtain was blown into the house," said Norwegian astronomer, Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard.

"Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we may be able to compare it to the bomb," added Ødegaard.

The last record for a meteorite impact in Norway was Alta, weighing over 198 pounds. It struck in 1904.

"The record was the Alta meteorite that landed in 1904. That one was 90 kilos (198 lbs) but we think the meteorite that landed Wednesday was considerably larger," said Ødegaard. He also said that area residents could find remnants of the meteor.

Professor Kaare Aksnes of the Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo later apologised for the comprison with the Hiroshima bomb "We cannot be completely sure, but the light and sound phenomena were exceptional. It indicates that there has been a great deal of energy involved."