18 February 2013, 00:09

Scientists confirm Chebarkul Lake meteorite found in Russian Urals as meteorite with an iron content of about 10%

Scientists confirm Chebarkul Lake meteorite found in Russian Urals as meteorite with an iron content of about 10%

Scientists have discovered in Lake Chebarkul fragments of the meteorite, which fell on Friday morning near Chelyabinsk. Their extraterrestrial nature has been corroborated by chemical analysis, reported member of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Meteorites Victor Grokhovsky of the Urals Federal University.

Previously there was information that an expedition comprising Urals University staff had set out to Chelyabinsk tasked with finding fragments of the meteorite.

"We literally only just finished the studies, and confirm that the particles found by us in the vicinity of Lake Chebarkul are of meteorite nature. This meteorite is classified as a chondrite; it’s a stone meteorite with an iron content of about 10%. Most likely, it will be given the name Chebarkul meteorite," said Grokhovsky.

Voice of Russia, RIA

- Massive meteorite crash shakes Urals region in central Russia (PHOTO)

“All the medical, educational and social buildings have been restored. Studies at all children’s educational institutions in the Chelyabinsk Region will continue on Monday,” Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

Chelyabinsk mops up broken glass

The City of Chelyabinsk has successfully repaired all windows in all of its schools and removed most of the broken glass that littered its streets following last Friday’s meteorite event.

Speaking to The Voice of Russia Sunday, a local woman named Tatyana Goncharova also said that many Chelyabinsk households have reinforced their window panes with paper bands to prevent them from being blown out in case of another meteorite attack. In doing so, they acted on advice from survivors of Nazi bombing raids.

Mrs Goncharova also mentioned proposals to establish a meteorite museum in Chelyabinsk.

A flaming meteorite streaked across the sky and slammed into Russia’s Urals Region on Friday with a massive boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk.Around 1,200 people had been hurt, including more than 200 children, mostly in the Chelyabinsk Region near the Ural Mountains. Some 50 people were hospitalized, and at least two people were reported to be in "grave" condition.

The shock waves blew windows at 700 schools, kindergartens and over 200 hospitals and social security facilities. Approximately 100,000 homeowners were affected, Chelyabinsk Region Governor Mikhail Yurevich said.

The total area of window glass shattered in the region has reached 200,000 square meters, local authorities said. Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said on Sunday some 30 percent of smashed window glass has been restored.

Over 24,000 workers and 4,300 pieces of equipment are involved in the effort to clear up the damage caused by the meteorite, the regional Emergences Center reported.

Chelyabinsk in the aftermath of meteor strike

The power of the meteorite explosion above the Urals Region on Friday was equivalent to 500 kiloton, which is 30 times the power of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. According to NASA experts, the meteor that hit the Earth’s atmosphere was 17 meters long and weighed 10,000 tons.

The 10-ton meteor broke part 32.5 seconds after entering the Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of some 20 km from the Earth’s surface. The Voice of Russia’s Natalya Kovalenko reports.

The fall of the meteor – a bright fireball leaving a trail of white smoke behind it – was observed by residents of Bashkiria, the Tyumen, Kurgan, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk Regions, and the northern regions of Kazakhstan. The explosion occurred above the city of Chelyabinsk, rocking buildings and blowing out windows. One third of the broken windows had been replaced by Saturday morning. Vadim Grebennikov of the Ural branch of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, comments.

"A total of 3,724 buildings located on the territory of the Chelyabinsk Region were damaged. 671 of them are schools or other educational establishments. The shockwave left behind a total of 200,000 square meters of shattered glass. 320 rescue teams are working round the clock in Chelyabinsk as part of an extensive rescue and clean-up operation. Other regions are trying to help as well and more Emergencies Ministry workers are on their way. 1,147 people have received medical assistance, 50 of them have been hospitalized. They all sustained minor injuries. One woman was flown to Moscow by an emergencies ministry plane. Planes patrolling the meteorite-hit area from the air reported no destruction."

Given that no meteorite fragments have been found on the ground, there are grounds to believe that the meteor was made of ice, rather than stone or iron. Vladislav Leonov of the Institute of Astronomy, comments.

"It was a bolide – a flash left by a meteor as it enters the atmosphere. This time, it must have been a comet nucleus, for it’s comets that leave no traces, only impact damage. These kinds of comet nuclei consist of volatile compounds and dust particles which fully evaporate as a result of a space-velocity strike and an explosion."

As scientists and rescuers struggle to find traces of the meteorite, their attention has been drawn by an ice hole in Lake Chebarkul near Chelyabinsk. The hole is about six meters in diameter and scattered around it are a number of black debris, reminiscent of rock. A team of divers has been sent to explore the area.

No meteorite fragments found

Russian scientists and emergency workers have called off their search for fragments of the South Urals meteorite that hit Chelyabinsk and four other cities Friday crushing a factory wall and smashing window panes in some 3,000 houses.

Nothing has been found. A big ice hole discovered in Lake Chebarkul is now believed to have been caused by ‘other factors’.

There are now abnormal radiation levels in the area.

The casualties in the meteorite shower numbered about 1,200, including some 300 children. All were injured by flying debris or broken glass. Forty are still in hospital. Three of them are small children. The damage has been estimated at 25mln euros.

Russian scientists say the blast from the meteorite was the biggest since the 1908 Tunguska Event.

The Urals meteorite is believed to have had a mass of about 10 metric tons.

Voice of Russia, RIA, TASS, AP, Interfax

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