The University of Arizona

Entry dynamics and acoustics/infrasonic/seismic analysis for the Neuschwantstein meteorite fall

D. O. Revelle, P. G. Brown, P. Spurný


We have analyzed several types of data associated with the well-documented fall of the Neuschwanstein meteorites on April 6, 2002 (a total of three meteorites have been recovered). This includes ground-based photographic and radiometer data as well as infrasound and seismic data from this very significant bolide event (Spurný et al. 2002, 2003). We have also used these data to model the entry of Neuschwanstein, including the expected dynamics, energetics, panchromatic luminosity, and associated fragmentation effects. In addition, we have calculated the differential efficiency of acoustical waves for Neuschwanstein and used these values to compare against the efficiency calculated using available ground-based infrasound data. This new numerical technique has allowed the source height to be determined independent of ray tracing solutions. We have also carried out theoretical ray tracing for a moving point source (not strictly a cylindrical line emission) and for an infinite speed line source. In addition, we have determined the ray turning heights as a function of the source height for both initially upward and downward propagating rays, independent of the explicit ray tracing (detailed propagation path) programs. These results all agree on the origins of the acoustic emission and explicit source heights for Neuschwanstein for the strongest infrasonic signals. Calculated source energies using more than four different independent approaches agree that Neuschwanstein was certainly <500 kg in initial mass, given the initial velocity of 20.95 km/s, resulting in an initial source energy ≤0.015-0.0276 kt TNT equivalent (4.185 x 10^12 J). Local source energies at the calculated infrasonic/seismic source altitudes are up to two orders of magnitude smaller than this initial source energy.



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