Monitoring the fall of large atmospheric ice conglomerations: a multianalytical approach to the study of the Mejorada del Campo megacryometeor
Certain local atmospheric anomalies, such as the formation of unusually large ice conglomerations (megacryometeors), have been proposed to be a potential natural hazard for people and aviation, as well as geoindicators for fingerprinting larger-scale atmospheric environmental changes. On March 13th 2007, at approximately 10:15 am, an ice chunk weighing about 10 kg fell from the clear-sky and crashed through the roof (around 15 m) of an industrial storage house in Mejorada del Campo, a town located 20 km east from Madrid. The megacryometeor monitoring follow-up and the original investigation presented here includes, for the first time, both logistic and scientific collaboration between the Laboratory of the Environment, Criminalistic Service (SECRIM, the Spanish “Guardia Civil”) and academic and scientific institutions (universities and the Spanish National Research Council). We propose that the management procedure of the incident, along with the detailed scientific research and combination of analytical methodologies in different laboratories, can serve as a protocol model for other similar events.