Witnessed fall in Russia, February 12, 1947
The Sikhote-Alin meteorite is a famous witnessed fall that landed in Russia on the evening of February 12, 1947. That night, a 70-ton mass blasted through Earth’s warm atmosphere at speeds of 25,000 mph or more. During its flight, experts estimate the surface of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite reached at least 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the mass hurtled closer to our planet’s crust, the pressure of ever-denser air forced it to shear and fracture along its crystalline planes, causing a monumental aerial explosion that was heard by human observers on the ground. The shockwave reportedly knocked over forest workers as twisted shards of metal rained down among snowy pines.
Sikhote-Alin meteorites fall into two categories: shrapnel fragments, which are melted, torn, and blasted, resembling the remnants of wartime bombs.