Scientists: Rock that hit New Jersey home is 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The meteorite and its crack in the floor.
Image: Hopewell Township Police Department.

Scientists confirmed on Thursday an approximately 2.2-pound rock that fell on a home in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, United States May 8 was a meteorite, estimating its age at 4.56 billion years.

Suzy Kop brought the meteorite to The College of New Jersey to determine if it was an extraterrestrial object. Shannon Graham and Nathan Magee, both of The College's physics department, performed tests, such as measuring the rock's density and inspecting it with an electron microscope.

Early analysis suggested the rock is an LL6 chondrite, a stony meteorite containing small amounts of iron. Police initially speculated the meteorite was involved in the Eta Aquariids meteor shower. However, Sky & Telescope concluded this was not the case after analyzing the meteorite's path.

Kop noticed the warm black rock on her father's bedroom floor about 12:30 PM (UTC−04:00). She found two holes in the ceiling, which scientists determined the meteorite created when it impacted the house at high speed and bounced off the floor. Kop contacted the police, who sent a hazmat team, which determined the rock was not dangerously radioactive.

The impact did not injure anyone.