Last week, researchers uncovered a meteorite weighing over 30 tons in northern Argentina.
The meteorite was found more than 670 miles north of Buenos Aires and it is thought to be the second largest ever discovered.
“While we hoped for weights above what had been registered, we did not expect it to exceed 30 tons,” said Mario Vesconi, president of the Astronomy Association of Chaco. He added that “the size and weight surprised us,” according to the Xinhua news agency.
“It was in Campo del Cielo, where a shower of metallic meteorites fell around 4,000 years ago,” the researchers behind the discovery said.
The researchers said the meteorite will be weighed again to confirm its mass.
Second to One Meteorite
The heaviest meteorite ever discovered, called Hoba, weighed in at 72 tons. It was discovered in Namibia, Africa, nearly 100 years ago.
Earlier this year, researchers at the University of California Davis said they have made the first ever discovery of an ‘extinct meteorite’ – a meteorite of a type that doesn’t fall to Earth anymore. The discovery could transform thinking around the progression of life on our planet.
Most meteroites, around 85 percent, are referred to as ordinary chondrites. They contain round pellets known as chondrules, which develop when molten mineral droplets rapidly cool in space, and are considered to come from rocky asteroids
Around 50 percent these ordinary chondrites are L-types, and approximately 470 million years ago there was a hundredfold boost or more in the quantity of L-types that dropped to Earth. This indicates the parent asteroid of all the L-type chondrites went through a significant collision with a different asteroid around that time.
This coincided with the Ordovician Period, when coral reefs first appeared and other significant shifts in marine life diversity took place. The lead author of a study into the extinct meteorite, Birger Schmitz, a geologist at Lund University in Sweden, said the two events may be associated.
“We base our view of how the solar system formed and evolved on the meteorites that fall on Earth today,” Schmitz explained. “If these meteorites are not representative of what has been falling on Earth in the past, we have to take that into consideration when reconstructing how the original nebula condensed into solid planets and asteroids.”
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