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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
'Meteorite' hits girl
Siobhan Cowton
Siobhan Cowton: "I saw it fall from above roof height"
The odds against being hit by a meteorite are billions to one - but a teenager in North Yorkshire may have had one land on her foot.

Siobhan Cowton, 14, was getting into the family car outside her Northallerton home at 1030 BST on Thursday when a stone fell on her from the sky.


This does not happen very often in Northallerton

Siobhan Cowton

Noticing it was "quite hot", she showed it to her father Niel.

The family now plan to have the stone analysed by scientists at Durham University.

"I saw it fall from above roof height," Siobhan told BBC News Online.

"It looked very unusual, with a bubbled surface and tiny indentations like volcanic lava.

'Shiny'

"It was shiny on one side and looked rusty as if it contained iron.

"I've seen shooting stars before - but nothing like this. This does not happen very often in Northallerton."

Mr Cowton, 45, told BBC News Online he would take the stone to be analysed himself.

stone
The stone may have come from Mars

"It is not going to leave my sight because it is a very rare find," he said.

"It is worth a lot to Siobhan.

"We will have it mounted in a glass presentation case so she can keep it for the rest of her life.

"After all it is not every day you get hit by a meteorite.

"The odds of winning the Lottery are better."

The stone could have come from Mars, according to expert on Earth impacts Dr Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University.

"It could be billions of years old and come from the earliest formation of the solar system," he told the Daily Mail newspaper.

Most meteors are between five and 60 centimetres (1.95 in and 1 ft 11.5 in) long, according to Durham University physical geography lecturer Dr Ben Horton.

"Sometimes they have shallow depressions and cavities," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Wells
"The curious and knowledgeable are beating a path to Siobhan's door"
See also:

23 Aug 02 | Science/Nature
22 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
12 Oct 00 | Science/Nature
05 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
08 Sep 00 | Festival of science
Internet links:


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