The Pontllyfni Meteorite - When a Meteorite Landed in North Wales | Westpoint

The Pontllyfni Meteorite – When a Meteorite Landed in North Wales

The Pontllyfni Meteorite – When a Meteorite Landed in North Wales

Not many people know this, but a meteorite fell on Pontllyfni Village on 14th of April 1931.

This information was gathered from the Yorkshire Post, Manchester Guardian and from jonesbryn.plus.com

At 11h 53 in the morning of April the 14th 1931 a number of people in the faraway northern England region of South Yorkshire saw a brilliant meteorite leap across the blue daytime sky. It moved across the sky towards the west and it was visible for several seconds until it faded from sight. The skies were cloudier in North Wales so fewer people saw the meteorite in the area.

However one man an amateur astronomer Bertrand Peek was climbing the famous mountain of Moel Siabod.

“We went up the N.E. spur, and had reached a height of roughly 2,400 feet, or 500 feet below the summit, when at about 11 hrs. a tremendous roar like thunder came to us over the top of the mountain, i.e., from the S.W. I exclaimed, “Hullo, thunder!” and as the sound went rolling on for longer than one would have expected of a thunder clap, my companion at the time, Mr. A. R. Thompson, remarked, “No, it’s a motorcycle.” It was certainly a fact that, mingled with the general roar, there was a continuous rhythmic noise, like the sound of a rapidly firing machine gun or a badly silenced motorcycle, which went on for several seconds.”

This roar was heard across much of Snowdonia, many people thought that the event must be an earthquake however when scientists looked at seismographs it did not correlate with a potential earthquake.

This is an image of a falling meteor taken of a meteorite, it could have looked something like this.

In the Yorkshire Post Newspaper, there was a report

“ There was a terrific double report followed by an awe-inspiring rumble of earth lasting quite 30 seconds. The rumble shook the houses and left an eerie feeling especially to the residents of houses on elevations. People had their fears intensified by the affrighting effect of the disturbance on domestic animals and on birds and cattle … The effect of the tremor on Portmadoc and neighbouring towns and villages was immediately to empty houses and business premises of their occupants. The streets were crowded with people, whose anxiety was intensified by memory of a terrific explosion during the Great War at a neighbouring explosives factory. Others suggested an explosion in North Wales quarries. Inquiries dissipated these notions.”

People were all discussing the tremor, what on earth could have caused this terrific rumble?

These noises were also experienced y a John Lloyd Jones at Coch-y-Big Farm, 1.5km southeast of the seaside village of Pontllyfni (that’s where we are) which is south of Caernarfon. A short time after he heard a different noise, a distinct sound of an object falling through the air.

The meteor landed within 50 yards of his farmhouse. It weight exactly 5oz and made a 9 inch hole in hard ground. John himself was only less than ten paces from the spot when it came down. He was startled before noon by what was taken to be a crack of thunder.

He walked 200 yards towards the farm-buildings, when he heard a rushing, whistling sound.’ `I stood still,’ he added, `and shouted to my son, and then behind me I heard a dull thud. Not knowing what was going to happen, I ran a few steps towards one of the outbuildings. Then my son came up and he took out of a hole in the ground what seemed to be a stone.’ Mr. Jones stated that the sky was not noticeably dark when this happened; it was dull, however, and the clouds, though high, were heavy threatening . . . Mr. John Aneurin Jones, a son of the house, said: `I heard a succession of reports like muffled guns, and about a minute later there was a peculiar whistling noise as of a projectile. Instinctively I stooped where I stood in the farmyard. When I picked up the fragment of metal, or whatever it is, it was warm in my hand.’ Just before the meteorite fell, he added, horses which were being led reared and whinnied and seemed rather affrighted. Their disorder continued till after the occurrence, when they quietened down.

welsh meteor

John Lloyd Jones with the Pontllyfni Meteorite Image from nantlle.com

Astronomer, Alphonso King took it upon himself to investigate the matter further, he deduced from reports that the meteorite must be a smaller piece of a larger rock which would have fallen into the sea. Which explains the rumble before the rock.

No other pieces of the rock were recovered.

The meteorite was kept by John Owens who had purchased it from John Lloyd Jones and studied it in his home in Aberystwyth. Eventually he passed it to the Natural History Museum after multiple requests.

They carried out scientific analysis on its chemical composition in detail, which was useful for further researching the nature of meteors.

Meteor Image from Natural History Museum and Virtual Microscope. All Images covered by fair use as fact base, educational purposes.