YEKATERINBURG, February 27 (RIA Novosti) – A museum in Chelyabinsk, in Russia’s Ural Mountains, dismissed claims Thursday that the largest fragment of a meteorite that exploded above the city in February last year was not being stored properly.
The meteorite chunk, weighing about 540 kilograms, was recovered by divers from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul near the city last October and now sits on display at the local museum.
But Viktor Grokhovsky, an assistant professor at the Urals Federal University, said the museum is not a suitable place to house the meteorite.
He said the space rock should be placed under glass with a moisture-absorbing substance or varnished, otherwise it would quickly deteriorate.
Eduard Shaigorodsky, the head of the exhibition, said the air humidity is carefully controlled both in the meteorite’s showcase and in the hall where it is displayed.
“Some conservation measures could possibly be useful at a later date, although their advisability is questionable taken into account the museum’s environment of controlled [air] humidity,” he said.
He said the rock shouldn’t be varnished before it gets completely dry, by about June or July.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite released several times more energy than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Local residents reported feeling intense heat from the dramatic fireball, which injured more than 1,500 people, mostly due to glass shattered by the shockwave.