Early 21st-Century Meteorite Fall Statistics (2000-2010)
(Note - this article was written in late 2010, so some of the statistics are now out of date, but were valid at the time of writing)
In the first ten years of the 21st Century, we have seen 58 new meteorite falls (as of this writing). As we close out the first decade of this new century, let us examine some of the facts and numbers surrounding these recent falls. For the purposes of this article, we will only examine those falls which have been officially recognized by the Meteoritical Society. There have been a few documented falls that have not been approved yet (Zunhua and Cartersville), so these falls will not be included in this analysis.
Let us first look at all meteorite falls since January 01, 2000. These falls are listed below. The list is broken down by year, and each year shows the falls by date. For each fall, the following information is listed - date of fall, official name, meteorite type, geographic location, and whether or not that fall is a hammer. After the list, we will take a closer look at the numbers and statistics.
List of all officially-approved meteorite falls from January 2000 to December 2010 : (as of 12-01-2010)
Jan 18, 2010 - Lorton (L6 chondrite) : Virginia USA (Hammer)
Apr 14, 2010 - Mifflin (L5 chondrite) : Wisconsin USA (Hammer)
Jan 17, 2009 - Maribo (CM2 carbonaceous chondrite) : Denmark
Feb 15, 2009 - Ash Creek (L6 chondrite) : Texas USA (Hammer)
Apr 09, 2009 - Jesenice (L6 chondrite) : Slovenia
Jun 23, 2009 - Whetstone Mountains (H5 chondrite) : Arizona USA
Sep 25, 2009 - Grimsby (H5 chondrite) : Canada (Hammer)
Jan 23, 2008 - Santa Lucia 2008 (L6 chondrite) : Argentina
Mar 23, 2008 - Daule (L5 chondrite) : Ecuador
Apr 06, 2008 - Berduc (L6 chondrite) : Argentina
Jun 12, 2008 - Pleşcoi (L5-6 chondrite) : Romania
Sep 12, 2008 - Sulagiri (LL6 chondrite) : India
Oct 07, 2008 - Almahata Sitta (Ureilite) : Sudan
Nov 20, 2008 - Buzzard Coulee (H4 chondrite) : Canada
Dec 20, 2008 - Tamdakht (H5 chondrite) : Morocco
Feb 01, 2007 - Dim Dim (H3-5 chondrite) : Turkey
Feb 21, 2007 - Mahadevpur (H4/5 chondrite) : India (Hammer)
May 10, 2007 - Puerto LaPice (Eucrite) : Spain
Jul 02/03, 2007 - Chergach (H5 chondrite) : Mali
Jul 06, 2007 - Cali (H/L4 chondrite) : Columbia (Hammer)
Jul 20, 2007 - Bunburra Rockhole (Eucrite) : Australia
Aug 11, 2007 - Red Canyon Lake (H5 chondrite) : California USA
Sep 15, 2007 - Carancas (H4-5 chondrite) : Peru (Hammer)
May 21, 2006 - Werdama (H5 chondrite) : Libya
Jul 14, 2006 - Moss (CO3.6 carbonaceous chondrite) : Norway (Hammer)
Jul 31, 2006 - Jodaya (L5 chondrite) : India
Aug 29, 2006 - Kavarpura (Iron IIE-an) : India
Oct 16, 2006 - Bassikounou (H5 chondrite) : Mauritania
2005 - None.
Jan 04, 2004 - Villabeto de la Pena (L6 chondrite) : Spain
Aug 01, 2004 - Maigatari-Danduma (H5/6 chondrite) : Nigeria
Oct 05, 2004 - Berthoud (Eucrite) : Colorado USA
Oct 28, 2004 - Kaprada (L5/6 chondrite) : India
Nov 08, 2004 - Orlando (Eucrite) : Florida USA (Hammer)
Nov 22, 2004 - Benguerir (LL6 chondrite) : Morocco
Feb 01, 2003 - Hiroshima (H5 chondrite) : Japan (Hammer)
Mar 26, 2003 - Park Forest (L5 chondrite) : Illinois USA (Hammer)
Mar 30, 2003 - Hoima (H6 chondrite) : Uganda
Sep 23, 2003 - New Orleans (H5 chondrite) : Louisiana USA (Hammer)
Sep 27, 2003 - Kendrapara (H4-5 chondrite) : India
Oct 16, 2003 - Oum Dreyga (H3-5 chondrite) : Rio de Oro
Nov 02, 2003 - Kasauli (H4 chondrite) : India
Feb 03-14 2002 - Alby sur Cheran (Eucrite) : France (Hammer)
Feb 11, 2002 - Bensour (LL6 chondrite) : Morocco
Feb 20, 2002 - San Michele (L6 chondrite) : Italy (Hammer)
Apr 06, 2002 - Neuschwanstein (EL6 chondrite) : Germany
Jun 06, 2002 - Bhawad (LL6 chondrite) : India
Jul 05, 2002 - Maromandia (L6 chondrite) : Madagascar
Jul 21, 2002 - Thuathe (H4/5 chondrite) : Lesotho (Hammer)
Jul 21, 2002 - Kilabo (LL6 chondrite) : Nigeria
Jan 08, 2001 - Beni M'hira (L6 chondrite) : Tunisia
Feb 08, 2001 - Al Zarnkh (LL5 chondrite) : Sudan
Feb 12, 2001 - Devgaon (H3.8 chondrite) : India
Mar 02, 2001 - Dergaon (H5 chondrite) : India
Jul 09, 2001 - Bukhara (CV3 carbonaceous chondrite) : Uzbekistan
Jan 18, 2000 - Tagish Lake (C2-ung carbonaceous chondrite) : Canada
May 06, 2000 - Moravka (H5 chondrite) : Czech Republic
Jul 15, 2000 - Yafa (H5 chondrite) : Yemen
Aug 22, 2000 - Gasseltepaoua (H5 chondrite) : Burkina Faso
As you can see, that is quite a list of meteorite falls, and there are many familiar names that will immediately elicit some kind of reaction from scientists, collectors, hunters, and layman alike. A few of these falls were media sensations and one was a confirmed crater-maker. But hidden behind the names are some interesting statistics and some trends that we will now examine.
Listed below is every meteorite type that is listed in the above falls. The number of falls for each type is also shown for those types which fell more than once.
Total of Types from the above official falls :
L5 : four
L6 : nine
LL6 : five
H3-5 : two
H4 : two
H4-5 : two
H4/5 : two
H5 : thirteen
Eucrite : five
Now that we have broken down the falls by date, location and type, let us now explore some of the trends. A few of these trends may be surprising or fun.
Some numbers about the types of falls listed above :
H5 is the most common type with 12 total falls in the last 10 years.
L6 is the second-most common with 9 total falls in the same period.
LL6 and Eucrite are tied for third-most common with 5 each.
There are a total of 25 H-chondrites.
There are a total of 21 L-chondrites.
There are a total of 4 carbonaceous chondrites. Each is different type.
Of the 6 achondrites to fall, 5 of them were eucrites. (the other was ureilite).
There are 6 achondrites out of 56 falls, that amounts to 9.3% ratio of achondrites to other types.
Only one iron has fallen in the last 10 years. (Kavarpura 2006)
There is only one iron out of 56 falls, or a 1.7% ratio of irons to other types.
There have been no pallasite or stony-iron falls in the last 10 years.
Some observations about types and frequency of falls :
There are only 41 known H4-5 meteorites and only 2 of those are falls. Both of those falls occurred within 4 years of each other between September 2003 and September 2007. (Kendrapara and Carancas)
8 of the 53 known EL6 meteorites are falls. Only one of those falls has happened in the last 50 years. (Neuschwanstein 2002)
First witnessed fall of an H/L4 - Cali 2007. (only 12 approved of this type, also a hammer)
First witnessed fall of a CO3.6 - Moss 2006. (also a hammer fall)
There have only been two H3.8 falls and both were in India - Dhajala 1976 and Devgaon 2001.
There have only been two L5-6 falls and both were in Romania - Mocs 1882 and Plescoi 2008.
There are only two L5/6 falls and both have occurred in the last 20 years - Mbale 1992 and Kaprada 2004.
There have only been two CV3 falls in the last 100 years - Allende 1969 and Bukhara 2001.
Stats and observations about fall locations and frequency :
There were 15 hammer falls, or 1.5 per year for the last 10 years.
One-third (5) of the hammer falls were in the USA.
India has 10 falls (including one hammer) in the last 10 years.
Uzbekistan has only two meteorites, and both are falls - Uchkuduk 1989 and Bukhara 2001.
Slovenia has only two meteorites and both are falls - Avce 1908 and Jesenice 2009.
Ecuador has only one meteorite - the Daule 2008 fall.
Turkey had one fall in the last 10 years (Dim Dim 2007), but 11 the of 12 official meteorites in Turkey are falls.
Columbia had it's first fall in 2008 - Cali (also a hammer).
Madagascar had it's first meteorite - the Maromandia 2002 fall.
Lesotho had it's first meteorite - the Thuathe 2002 hammer fall.
The USA has 8 falls (including 5 hammers) in the last 10 years.
The USA had zero falls from Jan 01, 2000 until Mar 25, 2003. The goose-egg was broken the next day by the Park Forest hammer fall.
The next big dry spell for the USA came after the Orlando Florida fall of Nov 08, 2004 and lasted until Feb 15, 2009 when Ash Creek fell. A dry spell of over 4 years. Since Ash Creek, the USA has 4 official falls.
Not to be outdone, Canada has only had 3 falls in the last 10 years, but all were "doozies" - Tagish Lake (C2-ung of extraordinary interest), Grimsby (hammer), and Buzzard Coulee (media sensation).
We have now lived through the first 10% of the 21st century, and while we cannot make a solid statistical projection from only one decade, we can possibly expect to see about 5 falls per year. Will this trend survive for long? We only have 2 official falls so far in 2010 and the year is almost over, but there have been a couple of strong candidates that may get approved in the near future - Breja (Morocco), Kosice (Czech Repub), and Varre-Sai (Brazil). If those are approved, then that will make a total of 5 falls for 2010 and that would be right on par with what we saw for the years 2000 - 2009.