Michigan meteors: Our state's been hit in the past; View meteorite photos and history

(WXYZ) - As photos and video came in from Russia overnight, we couldn't help but wonder: Has Michigan ever been hit by a giant meteor? Yes!

PHOTO GALLERY: Michigan meteorites

According to NASA, more than 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles slam into the Earth's atmosphere every day. Larger bodies, the size of a car, hit the Earth's atmosphere, burning up in a bright fireball visible with the naked eye.

That's likely what happened on November 26, 1919.

Fireballs over Michigan

The New York Times described the 1919 event in a story headlined, "Huge Meteor Falls Into Lake Michigan; Explosion Shakes Buildings in Cities."

The Times reported that, "Residents of Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, South Bend, Grand Haven, and other Western Michigan cities fled from their homes in panic, fearing an earthquake."

Witnesses described something that flew through the night sky and lit it up as though it were daytime.

"What looked like a ball of fire appeared to fall in the lake about fifteen miles south of me," a Grand Haven lighthouse attendant told the New York Times.

The newspaper said people first thought the rumbling of the Earth and bright light was, "caused by a terrific explosion at some industrial plant."

In the 1960s, bright light would again describe two meteors that traveled over Michigan skies. A 1968 report from the Michigan Department of Conservation told of a "fireball" that lit up the sky on December 9, 1965.

The state report said a boy in Jackson saw the fireball and then found a steaming stone. It says someone in Livonia – and many others throughout the region – also claimed to find parts of the meteorite.

On September 17, 1966, another fireball over Michigan's thumb was attributed to a meteorite. The state's report said this one was so bright that it shut off the automatically triggered streetlights in several communities.

Where can you see a meteorite?

The Cranbrook Institute of Science has a number of meteorites in their collection. This Saturday, they tell 7 Action News the museum will show off a number of specimens that are not usually on display.

Cranbrook's geologist will be on hand to show off meteorites on Saturday, February 16, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Many of the Cranbrook meteorite specimens were found in Michigan. You can see a photo gallery of those meteorites here:  http://www.wxyz.com/gallery/news/news_photo_gallery/michigan-meteorites-from-the-cranbrook-institute-of-science

The museum is located at 39221 Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills.

Learn more about Cranbrook Institute of Science and plan a visit here: http://science.cranbrook.edu


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