Hi, Obviously, Kevin and I have different views about the Nakhla dog story, so I will present my side of the issue.
Kevin Kichinka had rediscovered some discrepancies in the dead dog story from some early papers written by H. Hume in 1911, shortly after the meteorite fall, and in a 1912 paper written by John Ball. He maintains that these discrepancies are enough the bury the dead dog story for good. In other words, Kevin maintains the event never happened and the Nakhla meteorite never hit a dog. After looking at the same two papers, I came to a different conclusion. I've noticed some additional details that indicate that there is some truth to the dead dog story, and my position is that the you can't close the book on the dog story just yet. I admit that the dog story cannot be proven with 100% certainty at this point, but cannot be disproven with 100% certainty either. That has always been my stand. Kevin kindly provided me a copy of the W. Hume report from 1911 (reprinted from the "Cairo Scientific Journal, #59, vol V, Aug, 1911 pp. 212-215), and John Ball's 1912 report which also mentions the dog story. It was from these two reports that Kevin noted there were discrepancies in a farmer's account in a newspaper article of the meteorite fall, mainly that the date of the fall was off (June 29 versus June 28), and the fall location reported (Denshal) was 33 kilometers away from the location of where the meteorite fragments were recoverd (El Nakhla el Beharia), and that a Denshal official reported that "no stones fell" in Denshal. Also the farmer who witnessed the meteorite hitting the dog was quoted as saying the dog was left like "ashes in a moment" from the meteorite, casting further doubt on the story. However, in the two reports, particularly Hume's paper, there existed additional details that added some validity to the dog story. Some of this include new insights which I will discuss in more detail. I've concluded that people in Denshal did in fact witness the Nakhla meteorite fall. I also believe there were misinterpretations from the original reports, and that evidence of a meteorite fall in Denshal was overlooked. Also, there was apparently no real effort made by Hume to properly investigate Denshal as a possible meteorite fall area. Combined with some new insights which I will present, I believe that the dog story cannot be discounted yet. The original story about the meteorite came from the "Al Ahali" newspaper. I've confirmed that this newspaper is written in Arabic. Some of the discrepancies could be explained as translation errors from Arabic to English. Also, the minor date discrepancy could be simply a reporting error by the newspaper. CNN made a reporting error on a fireball event last year. If CNN can make errors, then a small error by an Arabic newspaper over 90 years ago is not so unreasonable. I think it is very important to obtain the original Arabic article from "Al Ahali", and have it translated again. There also may be additional details about the meteorite fall in the article that was not mentioned in Hume's paper. Now consider the words of the farmer, Mohammed Ali Effendi Hakim, who claimed the meteorite hit the dog: "The fearful column which appeared in the sky at Denshal was substantial. The terrific noise it emitted was an explosion that made it erupt several fragments of volcanic materials. These curious fragments, falling to earth buried themselves into the sand to a depth of about one metre. One of them fell on a dog at Denshal, leaving it like ashes in the moment." This does sound like an eyewitness account of a meteorite fall, though the ash reference in the last sentence does sound odd. John Ball said that this statement "is doubtless the product of a lively imagination". How can a dog go to ashes in a moment from being hit by a meteorite? Bear in mind though that the quote was translated from Arabic to English. I had some discussions with professional translators on this. One translator told me that he "could imagine that any number of phrases fall into the same semantic cluster as 'left like ashes in a moment' and could be mistranslated". Here are some quotes from various translators on possible other translations from the 'left like ashes' phrase when it gets translated from Arabic: "Something was being destroyed or killed" "The dog was soaked in blood" "The reference was to broken remains or a corpse" The translators were all in agreement that translations should not be taken literally, and I'm in agreement with them. I think John Ball, and later Kevin Kichinka, fell into this trap of taken the phrase literally. And there is evidence from Hume's paper that a meteorite did fall in Denshal, which is 33 km southeast from El Nakhla. Ball assumed that this distance was further proof the meteorite did not fall in Denshal. However, we do know strewn fields can be larger than 33 km, and the flight line of the Nakhla meteorite does line up with Denshal from El Nakhla. The farmer did provide an accurate description of the Nakhla meteorite in more detail in the same "Al Ahali" article: "Mohammed Eff. showed the editor of "Al Alahi" a small piece of the fragments, which were described as a greenish colour, covered with something like shining pitch." Now compare this with Hume's description of the Nakhla meteorite: "each side [of the meteorite] being covered with a black glistening varnish except where broken at the edges, where the interior is seen to be made up of light green-coloured crystals and grain." Here's John Ball's description: "Many of the stones are entirely, and all the others are partially covered with a glossy black skin, as if they had been varnished with pitch." "about half [of the meteorites] are completely enveloped in a black varnish-like skin of fused matter.....others exhibit fresh fractures showing greenish-grey crystalline interior." The description by the farmer of the rocks that fell in Denshal does match the Nakhla meteorite, which interesting as Ball said the farmer's story was a "product of a lively imagination". T.here is more. In his paper, Hume reports that he had recovered a rock fragment from the Denshal fall: "On seeing this notice [the "Al Ahali" article], private enquiries were instituted, so as, if possible to obtain specimens of the 'volcanic stones'. The representatives of the "Al Ahali" newspaper have kindly sent a specimen of the original fall." Presumably, the rock obtained by Hume was provided to the newspaper by the farmer. Oddly, there is no further mention of the Denshal rock in the Hume paper. What happened to this rock? Did Hume do any analysis on the Denshal rock? Since this entry was a footnote in Hume's paper, this indicates Hume did not receive the rock until he was almost finished with the article, and did not have time to properly analyze it prior to submitting the paper. That does raise of issue of where the Denshal rock is now. This is something definitely worth following up on. The fact that Mohammed Ali Effendi Hakim gave an accurate description of the Nakhla meteorite, and a fragment was recovered from Denshal is not 100% conclusive, but it does give the farmer's story more credibility. And there's more evidence that a meteorite fell in Denshal, though it is obvious Hume failed to see it. It is documented that the Nakhla meteorite fell from the northwest. From Hume's paper: "[the meteorite] was seen falling from the N.W. as a white cloud variously estimated as from one to three metres long." And from John Balls' paper: "The direction of approach of the object was from the northwest, and its track, marked by a column of white smoke, is said to have been inclined only some 30 degrees to the horizontal." If you draw a line on a map from the El Nakhla el Beharia region to the southeast, along the direction of the Nakhla meteorite fall, you will run into Denshal. Denshal lies on the path of the meteorite fall, but 33 kilometers downstream from Nakhla. I think it is possible that the Nakhla strewn field is larger than what everyone originally thought. The strewn field from the Allende fall in 1969 was 48 km long, so you can't rule out Denshal just because it was 33 km away from Nakhla. Obviously, in 1911, there is little know about strewn fields as there today, which may explain why Hume overlooked this. Hume did send a telegram to Denshal inquiring about a possbile meteorite fall, and he received this message back from a Denshal official: "In reply to your telegramme, we inform you that some twenty days ago, at midday, the inhabitants of Denshal village heard an explosion resembling a clap of thunder, accompanied by a small quaking in the atmosphere, but no stones fell, as was the case in El Nakhla el Beharia, Markaz abu Hommos." Unfortunately, there is no details on how this official determined that "no stones fell" in Denshal. Apparently to Hume, the word from a Denshal official of "no stones fell" was good enough to discount the farmer's story entirely, and eliminate Denshal as a possible fall area. This was very unfortunate. The same Denshal official also reported hearing explosions in the atmosphere, clear testimony of a meteorite fall witnessed from Denshal, and indicates there were several other witnesses. But this sadly was also ignored by Hume. Hume then proceeded to spend all of his time and efforts at Nakhla, visiting the Nakhla site and interviewing all of the witnesses there. In fact, the extent of his search was to interview the people who had already found meteorites fragments. There does not seem to be any effort by Hume to canvass the area and surrounding terrarin for additional meteorites. There is no indication from his paper that Hume, or anyone from his staff knowledgeable in meteorites, had ever visited Denshal. There is no record that Hume or anyone from has staff had even interviewed Mohammed Ali Effendi Hakim. There is no indication that that the other people in Denshal who witnessed the meteorite fall were interviewed. I think Hume made a grave and unfortunate error in not properly investigating Denshal as a fall site. So, after taking all of this into consideration, I think it can be said that Nakhla dog story cannot be discounted. However, as I noted earlier, the story is still far from being confirmed. But also bear in mind, that without the report of the dog story, the Nakhla meteorite would have never been recovered and would have been lost forever. It would be nice to get closure on this either way. It is difficult to track down a story that happened over 90 years ago in a remote part of Egypt. I have offered to Kevin to join me to research this further, but he has turned down my offers. Ron Baalke ______________________________________________ Meteorite-list mailing list [EMAIL PROTECTED] http://www.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/meteorite-list