If you’re planning on traveling back in time to Western Pennsylvania on June 24, 1938, you had better run for cover. Luckily, this catastrophe was a near-miss— the Chicora Meteor’s only casualty was a cow. (Rest in peace, Bess.)

A giant, 450-ton meteor blazed across the Ohio and Pennsylvania sky, exploded 12 miles above the Earth’s surface, and scattered debris over the small town of Chicora, Pennsylvania, which is located north of Pittsburgh.

Scientists stated that if the explosion had occurred above Pittsburgh, there “would have been few survivors.”


Only two fragments of the meteor were ever recovered– one resides in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and one resides in the Smithsonian Museum. They are 242 grams and 61 grams respectively. Think about it– the average car weighs two tons. A 450-ton meteor is the equivalent of about 225 cars. All that remains of the Chicora Meteor weighs less than a pound, total. The impact site was never found.

The Chicora Meteor inspired the zombie story arc in Call of Duty.

In case you’re curious, below is a map that outlines all of Earth’s near-impact events over the course of a decade. You can see a nice yellow blotch over our area.


Did you know about this crazy event that happened back in 1938? Have you ever seen a crazy meteor shower or other astronomical event? Share your stories in the comments below!

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