Skip to main content

Fireball Explodes Over Greenland Near US Military Base

This image shows a fireball over California on Oct. 17, 2012. In July 2018, a meteor fell to Earth just outside of a U.S. military base in Greenland. (Image credit: Paola-Castillo)

Lat month, a fiery meteor was detected in Greenland close to a U.S. Air Force base with 2.1 kilotons of force, as reported by scientists on Twitter.

On July 25, an object moving at about 15 miles/second (24.4 kilometers/second), or 54,000 mph (87,000 km/h), was identified near Thule Air Base. The U.S. Air Force did not immediately report the event or respond to the crash, according to The Aviationist. However, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Hope Cronin said in an email to that no one was injured and that the meteor didn't affect or harm any activity at the base. 

Though concerning, the object had a relatively small effect. "By comparison, the 2013 meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia released over 200 times the energy of the Greenland meteor," JoAnna Wendel, a NASA spokeswoman, said in the report by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) confirmed the object's speed, though the actual size of the meteor remains unknown. It was also reported that the object was about 27 miles (43 km) north of Thule Air Base. 

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project for the Federation of American Scientists, and Ron Baalke of JPL, also known as "Rocket Ron," a "Space Explorer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory" on Twitter, have discussed the impact on Twitter. Baalke reported the event, while Kristensen added that the event did not seem to be any sort of attack. 

See more

Lisa Guerriero, the founder of, an astronomy data portal, shared JPL's data from the impact in a following tweet. 

See more

It is not uncommon for small asteroids to enter Earth's atmosphere and turn into bolides, or fireballs, according to data from NASA's Near-Earth Object program. "Meteors of this magnitude or greater, caused by the impact of small asteroids (a few meters in size) with Earth's atmosphere, occur a few times a year," Wendel said. 

Email Chelsea Gohd at or follow her @chelsea_gohd. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Chelsea Gohd

Chelsea Gohd joined as an intern in the summer of 2018 and returned as a Staff Writer in 2019. After receiving a B.S. in Public Health, she worked as a science communicator at the American Museum of Natural History and even wrote an installation for the museum's permanent Hall of Meteorites. Chelsea has written for publications including Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine, Live Science, All That is Interesting, AMNH Microbe Mondays blog, The Daily Targum and Roaring Earth. When not writing, reading or following the latest space and science discoveries, Chelsea is writing music and performing as her alter ego Foxanne (@foxannemusic). You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd.