7 Nov: Meteorite!

The first meteorite to crash land into Earth – and have its date recorded – impacted the hamlet of Ensisheim (in modern-day France, then Austria) on 7th November, 1492. The stone’s descent created a crater in a wheat field, captivating villagers who believed such occurrences were cosmic signs.

A striking deafening noise accompanied the meteor’s descent; the bright trail it left was blinding. A young boy witnessed the fall and alerted the townsfolk, leading to a frenzy of villagers rushing to collect souvenirs and good luck charms from the impact site. The local magistrate intervened, preserving the meteorite by having it relocated to the church for safekeeping. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reflect on how the villagers reacted to the coming of what they called the Thunderstone, or Firestone; explain how the event was widely interpreted as a divine warning mainly thanks to the invention of the printing press; and reveal why the meteorite was affixed to the wall using iron crampons… 

Further Reading:

• ‘This Famous 1492 Meteorite Impact Was Interpreted as an Omen from God’ (VICE, 2016): https://www.vice.com/en/article/jpgk47/this-famous-1492-meteorite-impact-was-interpreted-as-an-omen-from-god

• ‘The Meteorite of Ensisheim: 1492 to 1992’ (Harvard, 1991):


• ‘World’s Largest Meteorite Weights Over 100K Pounds But No One Knows Where It Came From’ (Did You Know?, 2018):