Over the last few years there have been a spate of reports of unexplained balls of ice falling from cloudless skies, several of which have impacted dangerously close to homes and unsuspecting individuals on the ground. While the prevailing theory seems to be that these mysterious icy meteorites form on the exterior of aircraft overhead, cases have been reported in areas well outside of flight paths - not to mention the fact that reports of these icy deathtraps pre-date the advent of aviation.
In the meteorological world, these unexplained balls of ice are known as megacryometeors and have been documented by only a few scientific studies. However, due their rarity, unpredictability, and ephemeral nature, evidence is scant. This week, another incident of a falling megacryometeor adds to the mystery surrounding this icy apparitions and nearly killed an Illinois man. What is causing these fearsome frozen phenomena to fall?
The latest incident occurred in Liberty Township, a small town in rural western Illinois. Dennis Nover was walking his dogs around 6:00 p.m. under clear skies when he heard a “whooshing” sound disturb the air nearby. Immediately after, Nover heard and felt a thud so powerful it reportedly shook his neighbor’s house. “It sounded like a whoosh. I just thought it was the wind in the trees. If that thing had hit me, it would have taken my head off,” Nover told the Chesterton Tribune, adding that his dogs started barking at the object after impact.
Nover inspected the debris and found a basketball-sized chunk of clear ice lodged in a two-feet-deep crater in his yard. Nover took a sample of the meteor to the Department of Meteorology at nearby Valparaiso University, but researchers there have yet to find any conclusive indicators of where the ice came from. Had it been from an aircraft’s wastewater system, it would have been polluted and or blue from disinfectant; this sample is perfectly clear.
This case adds to the growing body of evidence surrounding these mysterious megacryometeors. While some sort of unknown meteorological phenomenon might be to blame, there aren’t any currently known processes by which atmospheric ice could accumulate in such large masses. The best guess is that these icy projectiles are falling from the exterior of aircraft, but that doesn’t account for the incidents recorded before commercial aviation nor can it explain the recent spike in these mysterious occurrences.
That is, unless there are more planes flying at high altitude overhead that we don’t know about. With so much unexplained activity going on in the skies or in space lately, there’s no telling what could be causing these megacryometeors.