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Richardton Meteorite


A large meteorite crashed to earth about twenty miles south of Richardton, North Dakota, on this date in 1918. “The fireball of the meteoroid … was witnessed over an area of … 18,000 square miles.” As far away as Mandan and Dickinson, witnesses recalled that, “As it came down, it illuminated the landscape to almost the brilliancy of sunlight.”

Landing around 10 pm, the meteorite broke into hundreds of pieces over an area of about two miles. The largest piece, known as the Loran specimen, weighed just over eighteen pounds. Local farmers rushed to the site and began collecting the fragments, many of which were sold to the University of North Dakota, the Smithsonian, and private collectors. Later isotopic analysis indicated that it originated in a supernova 4.56 billion years before the birth of our solar system.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme Job


Quirke, T. T. “The Richardton Meteorite.”The Journal of Geology, Vol. 27, No. 6 (Sept-Oct 1919), pp. 431-448.

Murphy, Ed. “Richardton and New Leipzip Meteorites Returning to North Dakota.” DMR Newsletter, Vol. 33, No. 2 (July 2006), pp. 1-3.