Scientists collect over 100 kilos of Chelyabinsk meteorite pieces

Scientists have collected over 100 kilograms of fragments from the meteorite that blasted in the skies of the Chelyabinsk region, Russian Academy of Sciences Space Research Institute spokesman Yuri Zaitsev told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

Scientists have collected over 100 kilograms of fragments from the meteorite that blasted in the skies of the Chelyabinsk region, Russian Academy of Sciences Space Research Institute spokesman Yuri Zaitsev told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

"Several institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences organized expeditions immediately after the [meteorite] event in order to collect meteorite samples and to study the drop zone. The total weight of collected meteorite fragments exceeds 100 kilograms, and the heaviest piece weighs 3.4 kilograms," he said.

Laboratory tests identified the Chelyabinsk meteorite as a LL5 chondrite (only 2 percent of regulate chondrite meteorites, which fall on the Earth, belong to this class, and the Chelyabinsk event is the largest of them), Zaitsev said.

The meteorite event occurred on February 15, 2013. The meteorite blasted above the Lake Chebarkul in the Chelyabinsk region.

The mass of the object, which hit the Earth atmosphere, was roughly estimated at 11,000 tons. It had a diameter of 16-20 meters, rammed the atmosphere at a speed of about 18 kilometers per second and fell into pieces at the altitude of approximately 23 kilometers.

Scientists presume the meteorite's parent body belonged to the family of Apollo asteroids, a class of asteroids with Earth-crossing orbits. Its approximate age is 4.5 billion years. Isotope tests and the structure of meteorite fragments suggest that the parent body collided with another space object about 290 million years ago.

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