Half-tonne meteorite removed from Russian lake

The largest known fragment of the meteorite that exploded over the Russian district of Chelyabinsk earlier this year has been pulled from the lake in which it landed.

After several failed attempts to remove the chunk of rock – which weighs almost 600 kilograms – a team of Russian divers succeeded in hauling the object from Lake Chebarkul in central Russia, eight months after it crashed in February 2013, leaving a 6 metre-wide hole. Scientists are yet to find a larger fragment of the meteorite, which was initially thought to be seventeen metres in diameter and 10,000 tonnes in weight when it burned up over central Russia, injuring over 1000 people and causing over $31 million worth of damages in the process.

This particular chunk of meteorite was found in September, but various factors have delayed the excavation process until now. For starters, the meteorite fragment lay buried under twenty metres of thick mud and sediment, which took ten days to be pumped away. Adverse weather conditions, including storms and zero visibility conditions, hindered the process further.

Now removed from the lake, the fragment has been transferred to the regional natural history museum, where it is being examined and x-rayed in order to determine what type of minerals it is made up of.

Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor of Chelyabinsk State University, has suggested that the fragment is one of the top ten biggest meteorite fragments ever found. And whilst many other fragments have been removed from the lake, very few have been verified as true meteorites. Zamozdra himself is certain that this fragment is part of the February 2013 meteorite, concluding that “The preliminary examination…shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. It’s got thick burn-off, the rust is clearly seen and it’s got a big number of indents. This chunk is most probably one of the top ten biggest meteorite fragments ever found.”

Sources include BBC News, RT


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