Scientists have discovered one of the heaviest meteorites ever found in Antarctica, along with four other space rocks that likely crashed into the icy continent thousands of years ago.
Researchers found one Meteorite repository on the surface of the Nils Larsen blue ice zone near the Princess Elisabeth station in Antarctica belonging to Belgium. Of the five meteorites, the most notable is a cantaloupe-sized rock weighing up to 15 pounds. Of the 45,000 meteorites discovered in Antarctica, only about a hundred are this heavy.
The expedition team poses next to the newly discovered giant meteorite.
The expedition group poses next to the newly discovered giant meteorite.
Maria Valdes, exploration scientist and meteorologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, US, said: “Size matters when it comes to meteorites and even microscopic meteorites can be extremely valuable scientifically. But of course, finding one of this size is very rare and really interesting.”
The meteorites were found on the ice surface in early January and it is likely that they remained buried in the ice for thousands of years and only emerged after the movement of glaciers brought them back to the surface. surface. But because meteorites are protected from rain, wind and air under the ice, they remain completely intact, researchers say.
“The objects came from the asteroid belt (located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter) and probably fell on the blue ice of Antarctica several tens of thousands of years ago,” ” expedition scientist Ryoga Maeda, a doctoral student at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, told Belgian news site The Brussels Times.
Normally, scientists have to scour the ice in the hope of coming across a meteorite. But the researchers were able to refine the scope of their research thanks to a study published on January 26, 2022 in the journal Science Advances.
They used satellite data and artificial intelligence to identify parts of Antarctica where meteor clusters were most likely to be brought to the surface. It was at one of these hot spots that new meteorites were discovered.
The meteorite samples collected during the expedition were sent to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels to be thawed and properly analyzed, but each of the scientists on the expedition also took back the meteorite samples. Potential meteorite dust samples they collected around fallen space rocks, according to the release.
This is the first expedition to search for one of the potential meteor hotspots highlighted by the 2022 satellite survey. The team’s success suggests this research can be used by other researchers to recover other frozen meteorite fragments. In the study, researchers estimated that up to 300,000 meteorites could be lying in wait on the ice surface, meaning only about 15% have been found so far.
The expedition team hopes to find more meteorites to help us learn more about Earth.
Article source: Tien Phong
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Scientists have discovered one of the heaviest meteorites ever discovered in Antarctica, along with four other space rocks that likely crashed…