18kg: Scientists find one of Antartica's largest meteorites

February 28th, 2013 in Earth / Earth Sciences
Scientists discover 18kg meteorite in East Antarctica. © International Polar Foundation


Scientists discover 18kg meteorite in East Antarctica. © International Polar Foundation

An international team of scientists at Belgium's Antarctica research station has found the largest meteorite in nearly 25 years, helping them to unlock the secrets of our solar system.

A statement Thursday said scientists at Belgiums Princess Elisabeth Antarctic research base had found a weighing 18 kilogrammes (nearly 40 pounds) on the Nansen Ice Field, part of a haul of 425 rocks with a total weight of 75 kilogrammes.

"This meteorite was a very unexpected find for us, not only due to its weight, but because we dont normally find such large meteorites in Antarctica," said Vinciane Debaille, a geologist from Universite Libre de Bruxelles who led the Belgian part of the team.

"This is the biggest meteorite found in for 25 years so its a very special discovery for us.

The Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station, the 'zero emission' polar research station which was pre-built in Brussels, is pictured on September 5, 2007. An international team of scientists at Belgium's Antarctica research station has found the largest meteorite in nearly 25 years, helping them to unlock the secrets of our solar system.

"We study meteorites in order to better understand how the solar system formed, how it evolved, how the Earth became such a unique planet in our ," Debaille added.

Meteorites are usually small, seen as 'falling stars' as they burn up in the atmosphere, but earlier this month one grabbed global headlines when it came down in Russia, causing a massive shockwave which hurt 1,200 people and damaged buildings across a huge area.

More information: www.antarcticstation.org/news_press/news_detail/scientists_at_princess_elisabeth_antarctica_discover_18kg_antarctic_meteori/

(c) 2013 AFP

"18kg: Scientists find one of Antartica's largest meteorites." February 28th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-02-18kg-scientists-antartica-largest-meteorites.html