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Meteor Explosion Recorded On Seismograph

NEWS RELEASE 8 JULY 1999

The sonic boom from the meteor that exploded over the North Island yesterday was recorded on a seismograph at Ruapehu, the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS) said today.

Interpreting the recording today, seismologist Terry Webb said the meteor was probably a fragment or remnant of a comet outward bound from the Sun and heading for the outer solar system.

It entered the earth's atmosphere at a relatively low trajectory at about about 20km/sec, or 72,000km/h before exploding into multiple fragments, Dr Webb said.

He estimated the meteor broke up at between 60km and 80km altitude. Dr Webb doubted if any particles hit the ground.

" A meteor such as this would probably have burned up completely in the atmosphere.''

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