Invasion from space – Why is Bavaria so favoured by extraterrestrial bodies?


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Towards the end of 2012 the Bavarian Environmental Landesburo (Bayerisches Landesamt fuer Umwelt) published a book under the title “Nicht von dieser Welt – Bayern’s Meteorite” (roughly translated as: Not from this world – Bavaria’s Meteorites) in which it documented the arrival in Bavaria of seven meteorites over the last 1000 years.

The research used mainly eye-witness accounts to identify the seven meteorites. The last of these ‘incidents’ involved a 300 kilogram meteorite which with a speed of 75,000 kilometers/hour hurtled towards, broke up and almost hit, Schloss Neuschwanstein. This as in 2002. One of the fragments survived and can still be inspected at the Rieskrater-Museum in the northern Schwäbischen town of Nördlingen.

Fortunately most of these recent meteorite ‘hits’ on Bavaria did not appear to cause major damage but this was not the case 15 million years ago. At that time a huge meteorite hit the area now known as Nördlinger Ries and managed to quench all forms of life in an area of 100 kilometers!

What is interesting about this research is that it highlights an unusually large number of meteorite incidents in Bavaria. Of the seven examples listed below scientists would normally expect only a couple of this magnitude to occur in a geographical area the size of Bavaria. It would appear that something special is attracting heavenly bodies (and English travellers!) to Bavaria.

More details can be obtained of the eye-witness accounts in the book (in German) which is available via the link here.

The exact locations quoted in the book of meteorite ‘hits’ in Bavaria are as follows:

Year 1722 at Kloster Schäftlarn (Lkr. München; Oberbayern):
0,4 kg, Stone meteorite (Eyewitness reliable, whereabouts of the stone unknown)

Year 1775 at Bad Rodach (Lkr. Coburg; Oberfranken):
3,6 kg, Stone meteorite (found but then lost without trace)

Year 1785 at Eichstätt (Lkr. Eichstätt; Oberbayern):
3,2 kg, Stone meteorite

Year 1803 at Massing (Lkr. Rottal-Inn; Niederbayern):
1,6 kg, Stone meteorite

Year 1807 at Untermässing (Lkr. Roth; Mittelfranken):
79,5 kg, Iron meteorite

Year 1846 at Schönenberg (Lkr. Günzburg; Schwaben):
8,0 kg, Stone meteorite

Year 2002 near to Schloss Neuschwanstein (Lkr. Ostallgäu; Schwaben):
6,3 kg, three Stone meteorites

Some additional incidents were reported close to Bavaria:

Year 1768 at Mauerkirchen (Bezirk Braunau am Inn; Österreich)
21,3 kg, Stone meteorite

Year 1869 at Krähenberg (Landkreis Südwestpfalz; Rheinland-Pfalz)
14,75 kg, Stone meteorite

(Information translated from, and kind acknowledgments to, the BLU website and their official German press release for the book)

For German reading visitors to this site an article in German can be found by using the following links to either the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (here) of the Bayerisches Ladesamt fuer Umwelt (here).

I can’t wait for the next opportunity for shooting star-gazing from my alpine bedroom window – it certainly beats counting sheep!

Chris Duggleby.

I have also written a number of articles on interesting subjects from the alpine press which have not featured in the English language media or which I consider will be of interest to international readers. Sometimes they are simply entertaining! These can be found under the Alpine News link

Please share your comments on the site. Thanks - Chris

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