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OUT OF MIND » PLANET AWARENESS » ATMOSPHERIC CHANGES » Russian meteorite: hunt for debris begins, but was it a comet?

Russian meteorite: hunt for debris begins, but was it a comet?

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PurpleSkyz

PurpleSkyz
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Russian meteorite: hunt for debris begins, but was it a comet?




Posted on February 20, 2013 by The Extinction Protocol


Russian meteorite: hunt for debris begins, but was it a comet? 080626-chesapeake-impact-02February 20, 2013RUSSIA A
race for cosmic souvenirs has begun after scientists said there were
still many pieces of the meteorite that fell to earth near the Russian
city of Chelyabinsk last week waiting to be found. The extraterrestrial
origin of 53 rock fragments collected on the frozen surface of Lake
Chebarkul was confirmed during analysis conducted by the Urals Federal
University in the early hours of Monday. But this is just the start of
the process of gathering the debris left by the large meteorite, which
exploded on entering the earth’s atmosphere and hit the ground in a
series of fireballs on Friday. Viktor Grokhovsky, a member of the
Russian Academy of Science’s meteorite committee, has been put in charge
of the scientific search operation. “There are a lot more fragments to
be discovered in many other places … it’s only a matter of time,” he
said. The search is being concentrated at the moment around a six-metre
wide hole in Lake Chebarkul, about 50 miles from Chelyabinsk, discovered
by locals shortly after the meteorite hit the ground. Military divers
spent much of the weekend scouring the bottom of the lake, but were
hampered by poor visibility and found nothing. Analysis of the pieces
recovered so far, none of which had a diameter greater than 1cm,
suggests that 10% of the meteorite was made up of iron. Traces of
sulphite and the mineral olivine were also present. “It was a stone
meteorite that belongs to a class of ordinary chondrite meteorites,”
said Grokhovsky. Likely to be named Chebarkul after the lake where the
first fragments were found, the meteorite is the biggest such object to
hit the earth in more than 100 years. Within the academic community
there appeared to be a difference of opinion on Monday as to the exact
nature of the object, when some experts said it was conceivable that it
was a comet that had struck southern Russia at 9.20am on Friday. “In
Chelyabinsk we saw a type of comet in which there was almost no
meteorite remaining,” said Alexander Bagrov, a member of the Russian
Academy of Sciences’ Astronomy Institute, Interfax reported. “It was
mainly made up of a mass of ice, of which no trace is left.” The
argument reflects the same debate that raged after the last big
meteorite impact, the so-called Tunguska event in Siberia in 1908. For
decades afterwards Russian scientists, trying to explain the absence of
an obvious impact crater, argued over whether the blast was caused by a
meteorite or a small comet. While the intellectual debate was beginning
on Monday, the clean-up operation in Chelyabinsk was winding down. The
shockwave caused by the meteorite shattered windows across the region
and injured about 1,500. One woman was transferred to Moscow for
treatment over the weekend and about 50 people remained in hospital.
With night-time temperatures hovering around -20C, glass prices jumped
as people rushed to replace broken panes. –Guardian




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