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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Biggest chunk of Russian meteorite lifted from lakebed

Biggest chunk of Russian meteorite lifted from lakebed

The largest-discovered fragment of a Russian meteorite, weighing around 570 kilograms, has been lifted from the bed of Lake Chebarkul in the Urals.
The huge meteorite chunk split into three pieces when scientists tried to weigh it. The precise weight could not be established because the heavy object broke the scales. 
The preliminary examination... shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. It’s got thick burn-off, the rust is clearly seen and it’s got a big number of indents. This chunk is most probably one of the top ten biggest meteorite fragments ever found,” said Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor of Chelyabinsk State University, as cited by Interfax news agency. 
Several earlier attempts to raise this massive chunk of meteorite, found by the divers at the beginning of September, failed. 
The divers’ mission was hampered by a number of factors. The meteorite fragment lay 13 meters deep under water, not 6 or 8 as was initially believed. 
Estimates concerning the layer of sediments covering the chunk were also more optimistic than what the divers actually had to deal with. It took them 10 days to pump the mud away from the rock. 
The divers had to do their job in conditions of zero visibility, due to the extremely muddied waters of the lake. Storms further contributed to delays in lifting the celestial body. 
The largest lifted chunk of meteorite so far weighed 11 kilograms. Scientists on Wednesday confirmed its extraterrestrial nature. 
A huge meteorite, weighing around 11,000 tons, exploded over the Chelyabinsk region in Russia on February 15. It injured more than 1,600 people, and inflicted plenty of damage - around a billion rubles ($3 million dollars) worth and also caused mass media frenzy. 
Overall 12 alleged pieces of meteorite have so far been raised from the lakebed.  Five of them were confirmed as meteorite fragments.