MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti) – The meteorite that exploded above a Russian city in February was about 4.56 billion years old – as old as the Solar System itself, a Russian scientist said Friday.
Mikhail Marov of the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry said scientists had determined the meteorite’s age by observing the amount of radioactive isotopes and their decay byproducts, a technique called radiometric dating.
“The age of the Chelyabinsk meteorite – 4.56 billion years – almost coincides with the age of our solar system. This means that we have encountered the so-called ‘matter of creation,’” he said. “They [meteorites] hold the history of the processes that took place in the earliest period of the solar system’s history.”
Researchers at the Vernadsky Institute said earlier that the meteorite used to be a part of a bigger celestial body.
The meteorite, which exploded above the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk on February 15, is estimated to have weighed about 10,000 metric tons and measured about 17 meters (about 56 feet) in diameter. The blast left about 1,500 people injured, mostly due to glass shattered by the shockwave.
Scientists have said the space rock was a typical chondrite – a stony, non-metallic meteorite.