City Desk

Meteorites: Not Just for Russia

As you follow the meteorite crash story in Russia (latest injury figure: 725 people), let's recall the Washington area's own brush with extraterrestrial fame: the 2010 Lorton meteorite.

The meteorite crashed into a Lorton doctor's office on Jan. 18, 2010, to instant acclaim: the Post declared it "Everybody's Favorite Meteorite." Doctors Marc Gallini and Frank Ciampi, who frequently sat right where the meteorite fell, wanted to donate it to the Smithsonian.

But things got complicated when the doctors' landlords decided that they wanted to sell it to meteorite hunters—or donate it to New Hampshire's Phillips Exeter Academy, depending on whose version of the story you believe. Legal challenges were exchanged, the landlords threatened to spirit the rock out of the Smithsonian "by sundown."

In the end, the story of the Lorton meteorite—the Washington area's first big meteorite landing—ended happier than Russia's. The Post reported in 2011 that the landlords had dropped the legal threat, the doctors donated their $10,000 finder's fee to Doctors Without Borders, and the rock is still at the Smithsonian.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin