General, Research, Technology

In Antarctica, found traces of a meteorite that could destroy millions of people

Did you know that the dirt under your feet canbe the remains of an ancient and very powerful meteorite? Recently, a group of scientists studied the Antarctic summit of Valnumfjellet and found more than a dozen tiny rocks of cosmic origin there. The researchers quickly realized that they were dealing with something unusual, because the particles turned out to be spherical and consisted of an alloy of several metals. In their opinion, these particles were left by a meteorite that exploded over the earth's surface 430,000 years ago. If such a celestial object now fell on a densely populated area of ​​our planet, millions of people would suffer and this event would become a worldwide catastrophe. Based on this, scientists believe that they need to study this kind of meteorites as best as possible. Let's find out what exactly scientists have found and why some meteorites explode before reaching the Earth's surface? There is one interesting theory.

A meteorite explosion over Antarctica as seen by the artist

Falling meteorite in Antarctica

The discovery of traces of an ancient meteorite wasreported in ScienceAlert. In the vastness of Antarctica, scientists have found 17 tiny black particles, the size of which was only a few millimeters. Any of us would take this black mass for ordinary dirt. But scientists apparently found it strange that some black objects were lying in the Antarctic snow. After studying the found particles, scientists found out that they are composed of iron, olivine and nickel. The composition is fully consistent with the structure of rare meteorites called pallasites. As a result, it turns out that a very rare object exploded over Antarctica thousands of years ago.

Remains of a meteorite that exploded over Antarctica 430,000 years ago

Not only was it a very rare meteorite - itwas extremely dangerous. Judging by the density of the particles found, before the explosion, the size of the celestial object was 150 meters. The power of the explosion is estimated at about 3 megatons, that is, the amount of molten material was greater than that of the Tunguska meteorite. But the meteorite explosion that occurred in 1908 over Siberia destroyed about 200,000 hectares of forest. According to the author of the scientific work, Matthias van Ginneken, such an explosion over Antarctica today is unlikely to harm humanity. But if an explosion occurs over any city, the number of victims will be in the thousands.

See also: How much are the rarest meteorites and where to buy them?

Why study meteorites?

It is very difficult to study meteorite explosions, becauseas a result, no craters remain on the Earth's surface. The fact that scientists paid attention to the millimeter particles of the destroyed object is a great success. It is possible that other particles can be found in the vicinity of Valnumfjellet, but this requires time. Scientists are unlikely to search for them, because the material found is quite enough to put forward very interesting theories.

The structure of the fragments of the Antarctic meteorite

Researchers are not yet completely sure, butmeteorites can explode in air due to exposure to very high pressure air. Many celestial objects consist of many holes, which, when falling to the Earth, are strongly blown by air currents. The pressure inside the meteorite is likely to increase, which ultimately leads to the explosion. In this case, parts of a celestial object scatter in different directions. If such an explosion really occurs over inhabited places, it will not seem a little. Homes will be destroyed and people severely injured or even killed.

The explosion of the Chelyabinsk meteorite in 2013

If you want to know more about meteorites,I recommend reading this material. In it, I told in which points of our planet it is best to look for "space stones", what their price depends on, which meteorite is considered the most expensive and where you can buy them. This is a fairly extensive and interesting topic to study, so I tried to collect all the necessary information. Enjoy reading!

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Space objects fall on our planetregularly and the greatest danger are asteroids. They differ from meteorites in their large size - their diameter is calculated in kilometers. Apophis, which will approach our planet in 2029 and 2036, was still considered one of the most dangerous asteroids. Scientists have studied the trajectory of this object for a long time and were almost sure that one day it will destroy the Earth. But researchers recently shared some good news - here it is.