The New Stuff

NJ Town Puzzled Over Mysterious Hole In The Ground


BERNARDS, New Jersey ~ (dailyrecord.com/AP) ~ Local officials and experts are absolutely stumped as to what could have caused a mysterious hole that appeared in a yard last week.

At present, it seems that the small crater, which scattered debris over a 100-foot area, was not caused by a meteorite. But beyond that theory, it remains a mystery. “It’s just really, really weird,” said Jerry Vinski, director of nearby Raritan Valley Community College’s planetarium, who conducted tests on the site. “We dug around and couldn’t find anything. We used metal detectors because all meteors have metal in them, and we couldn’t find anything, large or small.”

Bernards Township Police Captain Edward Byrnes said whatever hit the front yard in the Basking Ridge neighborhood left behind a crater about eighteen inches deep and roughly the size of a coffee table. Rocks and soil were found scattered about the home's driveway. “The weather was clear, there were no reports of lightning strikes; nobody reported seeing anything,” he said, “I’ve never seen anything like this in 23 years.” Byrnes also said a state police bomb squad had ruled out the use of explosives.

Vinsky said if the object had been a meteorite the impact would have been much more significant and would've been felt nearby. “When you see meteor showers in the upper atmosphere, they’re traveling 50 miles a second,” he said. “Even if it’s slowing down through the atmosphere, you’re still going to have a sonic boom. And it would have left something behind, it wouldn’t have completely disintegrated.” Vinsky's best theory was that the hole could've been caused by an object dropping from a plane.

Photo credit: AP/Bernards Police Department

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