Lorton, VA., January 23 -- A small meteorite hit the roof of Dr. Frank Ciampi’s clinic in Virginia on Monday. There were no reports of injury or loss. Dr. Ciampi practices in a small town of Lorton.
“I was in my office doing charts. It was Monday, a little after 5:30 p.m. And I heard a loud boom, almost like a small explosion,” said Ciampi.
The news was confirmed five days later by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as they were finding out whether the rock was a meteor or not.
"The first thing we look at is what's called the fusion crust on the outside. It's kind of a black, shiny coating, because when it passes through the atmosphere, it's melting a little at a time. So it's like an outer layer of glass, of melted rock," said Linda Welzenbach, manager of the meteorite collection at the museum.
Meteor may be retained by Smithsonian Museum
The meteor, which hit the floor just about 10 feet away from Ciampi, created debris all over the floor. It even made a small patch in the maroon carpet of Ciampi’s office.
“The first thing we thought was maybe something had fallen from a plane. I thank God. I was up all night, wondering what it was,” said Ciampi.
Witnesses who saw the crash said it sounded like a bookshelf falling over. “It went through the roof. It [then went] through one wall partition and then passed through a particle board ceiling into the floor of an examination room. It's not really big. It's about the size of your fist,” said Welzenbach.
On suggestion from office manager’s husband who had a background in geology, Ciampi sent the meteorite to the Smithsonian museum. The meteorite and its fragments were confirmed Wednesday.
Cari Corrigan, a planetary scientist at the Smithsonian Museum, said, “It's beautiful.”
It is speculated that the meteor may eventually be donated to the Smithsonian's collection.
“They'll give it an official name and an official description and it'll go on the books as being an official meteorite. I would imagine it would be called the Lorton, Va., Meteorite, or something like that,” said Corrigan.
Past heavenly crashes in Virginia
The meteorite is not the first one to fall in Virginia.
In 1878, Virginia documented its first crash. The state’s most recent occurrence was in 1924. Corrigan said small meteorites hit Earth “fairly often.”
“We're bombarded by stuff like that all the time,” she added.