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Mysterious Hole In Basking Ridge Yard Puzzles Officials, Experts

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A hole in the front yard of a Basking Ridge, N.J. home is several feet long and wide and deep enough to swallow a 30 gallon trash can (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

A hole in the front yard of a Basking Ridge, N.J. home is several feet long and wide and deep enough to swallow a 30 gallon trash can (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

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BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Basking Ridge homeowner would really like to know why there’s a crater in her front yard.

“To me it looked like something blew out of the ground because the grass was folded back, the rocks and dirt were all spewn out into the cul-de-sac and across the driveway,” Sue, who asked not to be identified out of concern that the hole may draw unwanted onlookers and crowds, said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Mystery In Basking Ridge


Her son, Jeff, believes something fell from the heavens.

“Something clearly came out of the sky and just hit it from an angle and then it all shot up the other way,” he said.

Officials and experts are also scratching their heads. For now, it appears the small crater that splayed debris across a 100-foot area wasn’t caused by a meteorite. Beyond that, it’s a mystery.

“It’s just really, really weird,” said Jerry Vinski, director of nearby Raritan Valley Community College’s planetarium, who conducted tests on the site. “We dug around and couldn’t find anything. We used metal detectors because all meteors have metal in them, and we couldn’t find anything, large or small.”

Bernards Township Police Capt. Edward Byrnes said whatever hit the front yard left a crater about 18 inches deep and roughly the size of a coffee table.

A State Police bomb squad ruled out explosives, Byrnes said.

According to Byrnes, no one in the neighborhood heard or saw anything at the time of the May 6 incident. The homeowner called police upon arriving home.

“The weather was clear, there were no reports of lightning strikes; nobody reported seeing anything,” Byrnes said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in 23 years.”

Vinski said that the hole could have been caused by an object falling from a plane. He said if the object was a meteorite, the impact would have been significant and would have been felt nearby.

“When you see meteor showers in the upper atmosphere, they’re traveling 50 miles a second,” he said. “Even if it’s slowing down through the atmosphere, you’re still going to have a sonic boom. And it would have left something behind, it wouldn’t have completely disintegrated.”

What do you think created the hole? Let us know below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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