In April of 2010, a large meteor struck across the Midwest skies, passing Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri at an altitude ranging between 6,000 to 12,000 feet. The meteoroid released heavy amounts of sound energy, known as a sonic boom, which was heard hundreds of miles away.
The meteoroid rapidly decreased in size, burning up, as it traveled down through the Earth’s sub-atmosphere, until it eventually crashed near Lancaster, Wisconsin. According to the National Weather Service, no one was injured. The impact, however, destroyed several trees and houses and left a huge scar on the Earth’s surface. Scientists estimated that while burning up, it exploded with a force equivalent to 20 tons of TNT.
This is not the first account of a meteor crash in Wisconsin. On record, approximately 13 meteorites have hit the State since the 1860s. These cometary remains were observed. They weighed between one and 530 pounds. When meteors are spotted in the sky, they are called “falls,” and when recovered from the ground, they are called “finds.”
People usually see the resulting bright light in the sky and call it a “shooting star.” However, it is actually a fast-moving meteor.
When staring at the sky, people usually see the clear blue sky during the day and the sparkling sky at night. However, cometary remains are constantly entering Earth’s atmosphere even though we cannot always see them. In general, most of the comets that enter the atmosphere are almost instantly incinerated after being superheated by friction before entering the troposphere. The meteor in Wisconsin caused severe damage, which could have been even greater if not for Earth’s sub-atmospheres, where meteors burn up due to friction.
[Source: Wisconsin State Journal: National Weather Service]