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

February 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
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Comets, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Fireballs, Meteor or Asteroid, Infrastructure collapse, Space Watch, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. nickk0 says:

    I have wondered about this too. I think it is quite plausible, that it was a ‘comet’ rather than a ‘mere’ meteorite.
    The challenge is trying to prove it was a comet, after the ‘evidence’ has destroyed itself.


  2. hilly7 says:

    This is weird but a few months ago I was reading a Science Mag while waiting in a dr’s office. They talked about how much money’s worth of precious metals rare minerals were in just one comet or a large meteor. It went on to say that Scientists were trying to figure out how to capture one, have it land on earth to mine. I hope their not actually trying it.


  3. These chunks of “space rock” are supposedly worth a lot of money. So why would they wait so long to look for it? Seems to me IF it were a meteor their chances of finding any left…short of underwater (where they found none) are next to nothing.


  4. There’s been many conflicting reports about this. From a Russian lawmaker accusing the US of testing a new weapon, to it causing more damage than reported. We may never know all the truth. I am glad your staying on top of this. Thanks Alvin.


  5. richard says:

    reading the end of the article. its so sad to see greedy people making money on the hardship of othesr. GLASS PRICES JUMPED BECAUSE OF DEMAND FOR GLASS , THE WHOLE WORLD GONE GREEDY


  6. tonic says:

    The Moon contains both ice and olivine. And lots of craters.


  7. ALBIRRR says:



  8. John says:

    Fireballs have been reported around the world almost everyday since the major Russian event.


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