Chelyabinsk meteor to be recovered, smaller chunk already lifted
The silt-caked celestial body the size of a human fist was recovered early on Tuesday as divers searched the bed of the Chebarkul lake for the “mother rock.”
The Chelyabinsk meteor estimated at some ten thousand metric tons busted into pieces over the Russian city at the foot of the Ural mountains on February 15, wounding over 1,500 people who got hit by the ensuing shockwave and glass splitters.
Its biggest piece plunged into a small lake on the city outskirts, turning it into a real magnet for treasure seekers, who are reported to still be combing the area in search of tiny meteor fragments that are then sold at prices over $600 per 15 grams, while local jewelers use meteor chips to craft engagement rings.
The meteor chunk is said to be buried under a 2.5-meter layer of silt in the lake Chebarkul. Scientists estimate it at hundreds of metric tons, although deep silt has so far hampered all attempts to pluck it from the lakebed.
The fragments were found by Russian divers with the help of probing rods and special radar equipment at the depth of some 13 to 14 meters.
They are now preparing to build a temporary enclosure, called cofferdam, around the find and pump out silt from under it to get a firmer grip on the meteor. The celestial body will then be lifted to the lake surface on a pontoon.
The explosion of the Chelyaninsk meteor over the city in February caused considerable confusion among local residents. The dazzling light from it was brighter than the sun, and bright enough to cast moving shadows.
Voice of Russia, RIA