MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – A radar probe of the bottom of Chebarkul Lake in Russia’s Urals has revealed a crater possibly created by a fragment of a meteorite that exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk last month, a Russian scientist told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
The meteorite broke into approximately seven large fragments and one of them is believed to have fallen into Chebarkul, forming a hole in the ice about eight meters in diameter.
Analysis of minute rock fragments collected near the hole has confirmed that they are from a meteor. Tests revealed they were chondrite, which is the most abundant type of meteorite, and contained some 10 percent of iron.
Scientists from Russia’s Institute of Earth Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation (IZMIRAN) carried out a study of the lake’s bottom using wide-band earth-sensing radars.
“A 3D image of the bottom shows a 3-meter crater that could have very probably been created by impact with a large meteorite fragment,” said IZMIRAN researcher Alexey Popov.
Popov said the crater is not located directly beneath the hole in the ice, but is some 10 meters to one side of it.
Emergencies Ministry divers searching the site in February failed to find any traces of the meteorite as the bottom of the lake was covered in a thick layer of silt.
The meteorite that slammed into the Urals region of central Russia on February 15 landed with a massive boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,200 people in the area. Health officials say 52 people were hospitalized.
NASA estimates the meteorite was roughly 15 meters (50 feet) in diameter when it struck Earth's atmosphere, travelling faster than the speed of sound, and exploded in a fireball brighter than the sun.