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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/531

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513
THE GREAT BOMBARDMENT.

tween twelve and one o'clock in the morning, and shot across the heavens, a fiery red mass—not like the ordinary meteor, but writhing and twisting in a manner peculiarly its own, resembling a huge serpent. When it had passed nearly across the sky it apparently stopped and doubled in the form of a horseshoe, according to the informant of the writer, as large as a half-mile race track. The horseshoe remained visible several minutes, gradually disappearing. The brilliancy of this meteor can be imagined when it is known that the entire San Gabriel Valley was illumined as though an electric light of great power had suddenly been flashed upon it.

Some time in past ages a meteorite weighing at least ten tons shot into our atmosphere and struck the earth near the famous Cañon Diablo in Arizona, the mysterious gulch crossed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad. The discovery was made several

PSM V54 D531 Coon butte crater near diablo canyon.png
The Crater of Coon Butte near Cañon Diablo, near which the fragments of a meteorite have been found, and which was supposed at one time to have been made by the meteorite.

years ago by a sheep herder, named Armijo. Finding a piece of iron with a peculiar lustrous surface which he believed to be silver, he carried it to one of the towns, where it finally fell into the hands of a geologist, who pronounced it a meteorite. The discovery was followed up, and on the crest and in the vicinity of a singular cone about four thousand feet in diameter pieces of a meteorite were found on the surface, which gave a combined weight of ten tons, in all probability but a fraction of the real monster. The iron masses were widely scattered over the slope and the adjacent mesa, and it was assumed that a gigantic meteorite or star had fallen and produced the cone, another striking the earth and forming what is now known as the Cañon Diablo. A large piece of meteoric iron was found twenty miles from the cone; another eight miles east of it; two thousand pieces weighing not over a few pounds or ounces were taken from the slopes; two exceeding a thousand pounds were found within a half mile, while forty or fifty weighing about one hundred pounds were discovered within a radius of half a mile. Here not only a meteor, but a large-sized meteoric shower, had succeeded in penetrating the armor of the earth, leaving many evidences of the extraordinary occurrence which may have been witnessed by the early man of what is now known as Arizona. From the peculiar