Saturday, January 29, 2005

'Meteorite' arouses Cambodians' superstitions
Australian - ABC

A 4.5-kilogram suspected meteorite has landed in rice fields in north-western Cambodia, narrowly avoiding a nearby village.

"The rock fell on a harvested rice field from the sky on Monday morning," Sok Sareth, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, said.

"According to the villagers who live nearby, it came very quickly from the sky and made a noise like a bomb exploding.

"It dug about 40 centimetres into the ground.

"The rock is a little bit black and was hot, and looks strange compared to other rocks... it was lucky that it did not land in the village or people could have been killed."

He says experts would examine the rock.

Pictures of the lump have been splashed across the front pages of local newspapers.

Sok Sareth says some villagers reportedly want to turn it into a shrine.

"Nobody has asked for it yet, but I have been told some villagers said that they want to put it on a shrine to pray to it, but we won't allow them to do that. It's useless," he said.

Cambodians, particularly in rural areas, are typically superstitious.