Peabody expert confirms second meteorite fall in Connecticut

For the second time in less than a month, an expert from the Yale Peabody Museum has been called in to confirm that an object found near a Connecticut home is a meteorite.

On May 8, only 19 days after a meteorite landed on a house in Wolcott, Connecticut, it was reported that an object hit a house only 0.78 miles away in the town of Waterbury. It crashed through the gutter of a home belonging to Jay Langlois at 51 Red Maple Lane and landed on the lawn below.  Whereas the Wolcott meteorite split in two, the Waterbury object was found intact. It is about the size and shape of an avocado, weighs 1.6 pounds, and measures 2 inches by 2.5 inches by 4 inches.

The homeowner contacted Stefan Nicolescu, mineralogy collections manager at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, who had confirmed the identity of the Wolcott meteorite. Nicolescu confirmed this object as a meteorite as well — noting its dark fusion crust, contraction cracks, high density, and attraction to a magnet. By sawing off a small piece of the object, he was able to confirm other diagnostic features: a very thin fusion crust, a light gray interior, and the presence of chondrules and metallic specks. 

Because the landing of the Waterbury meteorite was not observed or heard, the actual date of the fall cannot be certain, but Nicolescu believes “it is highly likely the Waterbury meteorite is related to the April 19 fall in Wolcott.” He hopes to conduct additional tests of the two meteorites to confirm that hypothesis.

If indeed the Wolcott and the Waterbury meteorites are the result of the same event, this would be one of the very rare instances in which more than one building has been hit during a single meteorite fall. Curiously, all but one of the reported meteorite falls in Connecticut have occurred in towns beginning with the letter “W”:  Weston in 1807, Wethersfield in 1971 and 1982, Wolcott and Waterbury in 2013.  The Wethersfield occurrences were of particular interest to scientists, hitting houses only 1.5 miles apart but separated in time by 11 years. The 1982 meteorite is on view at the Peabody’s Hall of Minerals, Earth and Space along with the one that landed in Weston. Known as the Weston meteorite, it was the first recorded fall of a meteorite in the New World.