On June 9, 1866 an extraordinary event took place near the village of Knyahynya – a large meteorite has fallen from the skies. The event unfolded between Stinka and Yavirnyk Ridges. Meteorite’s fiery ball appeared over the city Liptovsky Mikulas (Slovakia), flew in an easterly direction, and having broken the distance of over 200 km exploded near the village of Knyahynya at an altitude of 40 km.
A large area was subjected to a real “stone rain”. Stones were mainly found on the fields, roads, streets of villages Knyahynya, Zboy, Stuzhytsya. But mostly the fragments fell in the forest and were never found. There were very many pieces of meteorite scattered around. During the first few days, local residents collected over 60 fragments, whereas a total of up to 1200 fragments actually fell to the ground.
The largest piece of meteorite was found on a Stinka mountain slope in Chorni Mlaky Tract by a local man named Vasyl Kryvyanyk (according to witnesses of those events). A few days after the meteorite’s fall, he went to his hayfield and saw an unusual cavity. He dug up the soil (over 2 meters deep) and found a large fragment of a meteorite weighing 279 kg and 766 g.
Uzhanskyi County administration formed a special committee in order to study the meteorite phenomenon and collect meteorite fragments. Several days later a team of scientists arrived from Vienna and Budapest. They studied the place where the meteorite has fallen and recovered 72 more fragments with the total weight of about 46.7 kg. The search for meteorite fragments continued, and as of September 24,1866 they found pieces of total weight of 385.8 kg. According to the Museum of Natural History Vienna, the total weight of all meteorite fragments amounts to 500 kg. The pieces of Knyahynya meteorite are nowadays preserved in historic and natural history museums of 115 cities around the world.
A memorial sign was installed at the site were the largest meteorite fragment has fallen. An eco-trail to this site was also developed.
Source: Uzhanskyi national nature park
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