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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Meteorite Deaths? Interesting old article-read

Meteorite Deaths? Interesting old article-read

by Paul Heinrich
Tue Dec 29 12:38:10 EST 2009

One of the instances of a reported meteorite fall that
resulted in human deaths that Sterling K. Webb quoted:

"The most startling is a report of an event in early
1490 in Ch'ing-yang, Shansi, in which many people
were killed when stones "fell like rain." Of the three
known surviving reports of this event, one says that
"over 10,000 people" were killed, and one says that
"several tens of thousands" were killed."

Does anyone know where Ch'ing-yang, Shansi is in China?

I ask this question because, unlike many of the other
alleged meteorite falls reported to have caused either
injury or death to humans, this fall, as reported, would
have been extensive enough to have left behind some
sort of "findable" physical evidence in the form of
actual meteorites. Applying the basic principles of
geomorphology, Quaternary geology, and site formation
processes as developed by archaeologists, a well-
trained Quaternary geologist, archaeological geologist,
or geomorphologists should be able to locate the
landforms and colluvial or fluvial deposits of the right
age in which any of these numerous meteorites would
have been concentrated and either them or their
weathered remains possibly preserved

For example, on landforms that predate 1490, the
meteorites would have been buried by bioturbation.
As the local soils were churned by farming and
soil fauna, any meteorites that would have fallen on
the land surface would have eventually sunk to the
base of the soil's biomantle. As a result, they would
be concentrated as a layer at the base of bioturbation
called a "carpedolith". In gullies and other exposures,
they would occur as a "stone line" at the base of the
biomantle. Also, using what is known about the
archaeology and geomorphology of the area, a
person could locate the buried land surfaces or
deposits of the right age and origin that should contain
these meteorites, if they indeed exist.

This is the sort of methodology I discuss in relationship
to the alleged tektites found in Rapides Parish, Louisiana
in "Reevaluation of Tektites Reported from. Rapides
Parish, Louisiana" at either: or

A hypothetical stone line can be seen in "Animation on
Dynamic Denudation/Biomantle Evolution" at;

and discussed in:

Johnson, D. L., 1989, Subsurface Stone Lines, Stone Zones,
Artifact-Manuport Layers, and Biomantles Produced by
Bioturbation via Pocket Gophers (Thomomys Bottae).
American Antiquity. vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 370-389

and Johnson, D. L., 1990, Biomantle Evolution and the
Redistribution of Earth Materials and Artifacts. Soil
Science. vol. 149, no. 2, pp. 84-102.

Meteorites will behave very much like the artifacts discussed
in the above paper.


Paul H.

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