Meteorite shower of Pilistvere

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08. August 1863

On August 8, 1863, there was a meteor shower near Pilistvere, in Põltsamaa. Eight meteorites were seen falling, though only four have been found so far (Aukamäe, Kurla, Wahhe and Saviaugu I). The falling of the meteorites has been described as follows:

Kurla meteorit
Brothers Johann and Andreas Steinberg were working on a field at that time. They heard the same noise as when the Aukamäe meteorite fell. They saw a black object falling onto the stone roof of the drying barn. People in the barn also heard the noise and being frightened, ran to the part of the barn where they could see a hole in the roof of the pig pen and a cloud of smoke. At first, they feared that fire had broke loose, but then calmed, assuming the smoke and sound to have come from cold lightning. The next day A. Mickwitz set out to look for the meteorite, witch he found in the pig pen. The mass of the meteorite was 3950 grams.

Aukamäe meteorite

It was seen by Andres Pak and Hans Matzi, while working on a rye field five hundred meters away. They heard noises associated with a meteor fall: repeated booming, drum-like rattle and hissing. They saw a black trail that could be followed all the way to the ground. Upon landing the ground shook. The two did not dare to go and investigate the hole at first. After four hours, Andres and his curious sister worked up the courage to approach the hole. The meteorite lay at the bottom of a hole, from which rock, peat and clay had been expelled. It was embedded so deep, that it took the aid of a lever to pry it out of the hole. Andres took the rock to baron Richard Victingshoffile, who, in turn, donated it to the University of Tartu. The meteorite weighed 10 741 grams.

Wahhe meteorite
Farm-woman Katherine (Trina) Kipper was making hay when she heard a terrible noise. Frightened, she ran home, where she heard from others that rocks had been falling from the sky. Three days later, she found it in a hole in the field. On August 19, she took it to pastor E. Mickwiz. The latter passed the rock on, to A. Keyserlingile who gave it to the University of Tartu.

Saviaugu meteorite
Seven peasants and their overseer heard two booming cannon fire -like sounds from the north and a third from south-west. They then saw two falling objects, covered in a cloud of smoke. Only one of the objects was found. Pilistvere meteorite belongs in a category of rare rock-meteorites - Enstatite Chondrites. The compiled overview is based on Reet Tiirmaa's book "Meteoriidid ja meteoriidikraatrid" ("Meteorites and Meteorite Craters"), published in 2002; compiled and photographed by Mare Isakar 2003.



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