Just over eight months after a 10-ton hunk of space rock exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, divers have reportedly pulled a roughly half-ton fragment of that rock from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul.
When the dust settled from the arrival of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, back on February 15th, among all the damage and injuries it caused, it was also blamed for a six-metre-wide hole that was found punched in the ice of nearby Lake Chebarkul. Although small fragments of the meteorite were found around the hole in the ice, no large fragment was discovered. This led to some debate about whether the hole was unrelated, or caused simply by the heated, compressed air that continued along the meteorite's trajectory after it exploded, or whether a large piece of the meteorite was lying at the bottom of the lake, waiting to be extracted.
The debate seems to be settled now, though, as a team of divers dragged a 1.5-metre-wide, roughly half-ton rock from the lakebed, which local researchers are sure is part of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.
"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," said Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor of Chelyabinsk State University, according to Russia Today.
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The exact weight of the rock isn't know yet. The scale the team brought with them apparently read up to a total mass of 570 kg before both the scale and the rock broke. The three chunks of the fragment been moved to a nearby natural history museum for further study, and they plan on examining some of it with x-rays to determine what kind of minerals are locked within.
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