YEKATERINBURG, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – Two more rocks believed to be fragments of a meteorite that exploded above a Russian city in February have been lifted from the bottom of a Ural Mountain lake, local authorities said Tuesday.
Both rocks are estimated to weigh less than a kilogram [2.2 pounds] and are being sent to the nearby Chelyabinsk State University for a detailed examination, the regional ministry in charge of recovering the fragments said in a statement.
Eight possible fragments, ranging from 10 to 30 centimeters in diameter, have so far been recovered from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul. But the biggest rocks, weighing 5.8 kilograms (12.8 pounds) and 19.6 kilograms (43.2 pounds), might not be parts of the meteorite, scientists say. Additional examination is under way.
Last week a 3.36-kilogram (7.4-pound) piece of the meteorite went on sale on Russian classified ad site Avito.ru for 2.1 million rubles ($65,000).
Scientists believe that a relatively enormous fragment – estimated to weigh several hundred kilograms – is buried under a layer of silt on the lakebed. Currently, the silt is being pumped out to recover the object, and a senior official said the object could be retrieved by October 4.
A high-ranking Chelyabinsk State University official said Tuesday that a sonar scan had revealed another huge object that could possibly be another chunk of the meteorite. The Chelyabinsk Region’s Radiation and Environmental Safety Ministry confirmed that report and said divers were trying to reach the object.
The meteorite, estimated to have weighed 10,000 metric tons, exploded above the city Chelyabinsk on February 15, leaving about 1,500 people injured, mostly due to glass shattered by the shockwave.