Hi, List, Paul,
A new List member, Robert A. Juhl (aa...@mac.com)
was having trouble posting this message to the List, so
I'm passing it along for him.
It contains a lot of source details about the 1490 meteorite
fall in Ch'ing-yang, Shansi (modern spelling Qingyang and
is now in Gansu Province). Lots of fascinating details!
Sterling K. Webb
Here is Robert's email:
The March-April 1490 event is well attested. The standard source for
information on meteor sightings and other celestial phenomena in China
is Zhongguo gudai tianxiang jilu zongji, (Complete collection of
records of celestial phenomena in ancient China), published under the
auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 1988.
One section of this book is devoted to meteor falls. The March-April
1490 event is covered on pgs 73-74. Ten works mention the event. Of
these, the most important is the official History of the Ming Dynasty.
The other works are local gazettes, histories, etc.
The record of the event in the official History of the Ming Dynasty is
terse. It says only that there was a rain of innumerable stones of
various sizes. The big ones were as large as a goose egg, and the
small ones were the size of the fruit of an aquatic plant. The date
given is the third (lunar) month of 1490 (21 Mar-19 Apr 1490). The
location was Qingyang in Shaanxi Province. In other words, the
official history does not mention the deaths. Perhaps there was a
political reason not to mention them.
However, many sources mention the deaths. One semi-official source
says the official in charge of Shaanxi Province sent in a report to
the central government stating there had been a rain of stones in
Qingyang County of Shaanxi. The large ones weighed 4-5 jin and the
small ones weighed 2-3 jin (a modern jin is about 605 grams; offhand,
I don't know the weight of the jin at that time). The number of people
who were struck and died from the stones was several ten-thousands. A
separate source mentions that all the residents of one city fled
elsewhere under the rain of stones. The semi-official report above and
two others date the fall in the second lunar month. One source dates
the fall on 4 Apr 1490 (in the 3rd lunar month). And the rest of the
sources date the fall in the 3rd lunar month.
Incidentally, nowadays Qingyang is in China's Gansu Province. Just
input Qingyang into Google Earth and select the Qingyang in Gansu.
Best wishes and Happy New Year
Robert A. Juhl (aa...@mac.com)
Meteorite-list mailing list