Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Giant chunk of Russian meteorite found in lake

Divers at a Russian lake have pulled out a 5-foot-wide, half-ton hunk of meteorite from the Chelyabinsk meteor that streaked across the sky in February.

The large black fragment smashed a nearly 20-foot-wide hole into the ice covering Lake Chebarkul. It could potentially be the most massive fragment of the dramatic fireball captured on video across the region, and researchers are calling it a once in a lifetime moment.

"It's a once-in-a-100-year event. It's very exciting from that point of view," said meteoriticist Caroline Smith, who curates the Natural History Museum's meteorite collection in London and was following the find's progress.

The rock weighed in at about 1,257 pounds Wednesday but it may be heavier because it broke the scale, Smith noted — and broke into pieces as well.

Even though this is a massive meteorite fragment, it's a tiny portion of the original missile, a roughly 56-foot-wide space rock that traveled about 40,000 mph and vaporized roughly 15 miles above the surface, resulting in an explosion measured between 300 and 500 kilotons, roughly the same as a modern nuclear bomb, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Fragments rained down from the sky and several such meteorites have been collected since then.

The specimen appears to be an ordinary chondrite, the most common meteorite to hit Earth, Smith said. Still, it could be useful for scientists wondering what size of space rock could do major damage on impact.

People look Wednesday at what scientists believe to be a more than half-ton chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor that streaked across the sky in a dramatic fireball in February.

Associated Press

People look Wednesday at what scientists believe to be a more than half-ton chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor that streaked across the sky in a dramatic fireball in February.

Giant chunk of Russian meteorite found in lake 10/16/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech


    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …

  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway


    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. Editorial: When protest leads to understanding


    The protests against racial injustice by professional athletes across the country include examples of communities where it has not been handled well. And then there is the example set in Tampa Bay.

  4. Why it's too early to give up on the Bucs


    Don't panic. It's not too late for the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after the defense recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Backlog of immigration cases under Trump stymies immigrants in Florida


    It was supposed to be a routine green card renewal for a Thai woman who has called Central Florida home for years.

    Immigration lawyers such as Gerald P. Seipp of Clearwater worry that their clients’ circumstances will change with long delays in their immigration court appeals, hurting their chances of staying in the country. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]