Meteorite: Russia Pulls Rock From Lake After February Explosion

Image: Meteorite: Russia Pulls Rock From Lake After February Explosion What scientists believe is a chunk from the Chelyabinsk meteor was recovered from Chebarkul Lake east of Moscow on Oct. 16.

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 06:49 PM

By Robin Farmer

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A piece of meteorite that fell in Russia was recovered by a team of divers Wednesday who pulled the half-tron fragment from a lake. The meteorite injured hundreds with its massive shockwave before crashing in February.

The coffee-table-sized space rock, the biggest piece of the meteorite found so far, was pulled ashore from Lake Chebarkul, BBC News reported. The operation was broadcast live on national television. It did not go smoothly.

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Attempts to weigh the fragment went awry when the rock broke up into three pieces. The scale broke, too, but not before registering 1,255 pounds of the space rock.

The meteorite made headlines Feb. 15 when it exploded over Chelyabinsk, shattering windows and rocking buildings. Nearly 1,000 people were injured, most of them with cuts and bruises, when the fireball streaked through the sky.

Experts must still confirm that the rock pulled rom the lake is the real deal. Still, others are already convinced.

Dr. Caroline Smith, curator of meteorites at London's Natural History Museum, said that the object was a meteorite, noting it had characteristic features known as fusion crust.

"Fusion crust forms as the meteoroid is traveling through the atmosphere as a fireball," Smith told BBC News.

"The outer surface gets so hot it melts the rock to form a dark, glassy surface crust which we term a fusion crust. Regmaglypts are the indentations, that look a bit like thumbprints, also seen on the surface of the meteorite," she said.

Some local residents were convinced, too.

The Agence France-Presse reported nearby residents are trying to use the space rock to fuel tourism. One idea presented to the local government is to build a six-story statue honor of the meteorite. Plans also include the creation of special hiking trails for tourists keen on visiting areas where the debris was found.

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Related stories:

Life Started on Mars, Came to Earth on Meteorite, Evidence Suggests

Older Martian Meteorite Found in Sahara Contains More Water Than Most

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