[meteorite-list] Huge Chelyabinsk Meteorite Fragment Pulled From Lake

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 09:36:31 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201310161636.r9GGaV8C020672_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Russia pulls huge 'Chelyabinsk meteor chunk' from lake
By Dmitry Zaks
October 16, 2013

Russian divers Wednesday pulled from a murky lake in the Urals a half-tonne
suspected meteorite said to have been part of a meteor whose ground-shaking
shockwave hurt 1,200 people in February.

The dramatic recovery operation came eight months after a piercing streak
of light lit up the morning sky in the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk
in scenes some locals said made them think of the onset of a nuclear war.

The meteor broke up into myriad pieces - some no bigger than the size
of a fingernail - that scientists are still finding across the remote
region to this day.

Much of the debris landed in a local lake called Chebarkul that the divers
entered on Wednesday in an operation covered live on national television.

Broadcasts showed a team pull out a 1.5-metre-long (five-foot-long) rock
from the lake after first wrapping it in a special casing while it was
still underwater.

The boulder was then pulled ashore and placed on top of a massive scale
for the all-important weighing - an operation that quickly went partially

The rock crumbled into several chunks as scientists began lifting it from
the ground with the help of levers and ropes.

The scale itself broke the moment it hit the 570-kilogramme (1,255-pound)

"The rock had a fracture when we found it," one unnamed scientist told
the lifenews.ru website in a live broadcast.

"It weighed 570 kilogrammes before the pieces fell off. And then the scale
broke," said the scientist.

"We think the whole thing weighs more than 600 kilogrammes," he said.

Experts warned it will take time before scientists can certify that the
rock they pulled from the lake did indeed come from outer space.

The Vesti 24 rolling news channel reported that divers had already recovered
more than 12 pieces from Lake Chebarkul since the February 15 incident.

Only four or five of the pieces turned out to be real meteorites, the
channel said.

But researchers at a local university seemed confident in their latest

"Based on our initial observations... this is a part of the Chelyabinsk
meteor," Sergei Zamozdra, a lecturer at Chelyabinsk State University,
told the Interfax news agency.

"This is the largest fragment of that meteor," said the scientist.

"And most likely, it will be one of the 10 largest meteorites ever found."

The meteor weighed a whopping 10,000 tonnes when it exploded a few kilometres
up in the air with the force equivalent to 30 of the nuclear bombs dropped
on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II.

US scientists said an object that large usually approaches Earth only
once every four decades.

Residents of Chelyabinsk - once a part of the Soviet Union's industrial
heartland that has seen a dramatic slide in living standards of late -
have been trying to use the meteor as a way to draw tourists to their
isolated part of Russia.

A special council made up of scientists and prominent residents this week
urged the local government to erect a six-storey-tall statue in honour
of the space rock.

Chelyabinsk media reports said the council is also hoping to set up special
hiking trails for foreign tourists interested in visiting the lake and
other spots where debris was found
Received on Wed 16 Oct 2013 12:36:31 PM PDT

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