The gold rush begins for fragments of Russian meteor worth more than £10,000 each as astronomers warn UK had a lucky escape

  • ‘Meteor hunters’ are out in force as collectors offer large sums
  • But they may have to wait for spring for snow to thaw to search
  • Astronomers say meteor could have hit UK if the it struck at a different time

By Sam Webb

The meteor that crashed in central Russia on Friday has sparked a modern-day gold rush as treasure hunters flock to the area for fragments worth more than £10,000.

Just a day after the 40-tonne meteor, which injured more than 1,200 people with flying fragments of glass and rubble, hurtled across the sky above Chelyabinsk, locals were out in force seeking fragments to sell to collectors desperate for a piece of the celestial body.

Enthusiasts took to the internet to let locals with a fragment know they could make big money. One Russian buyer was offering 500,000 roubles (£10,700) for a single rock.

Locals searching for meteorite fragments have gathered at a frozen lake where a chunk of meteorite hit. Collectors are offering £10,000 for a single piece Locals searching for meteorite fragments have gathered at a frozen lake where a chunk of meteorite hit. Collectors are offering £10,000 for a single piece

Meanwhile, experts say the meteor could have hit a UK city with the force of a nuclear bomb if it had entered the atmosphere at a different time of day.

The meteor penetrated Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,0000mph.

As it raced through the sky, the 50-foot wide chunk of space rock compressed the air ahead of it, creating the enormous temperatures that meant it exploded in a fireball somewhere between 18 and 32 miles above the ground at around 9.20am local time on Friday.

Although some debris fell to earth, ‘whipping up a pillar of ice, water and steam’ and creating a 20-foot-wide crater, the damage in nearby towns was actually caused by shockwaves created by the meteor breaking the sound barrier and then exploding.

Shockwave: People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave Shockwave: People heading to work in Chelyabinsk, Russia, heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave when a meteor soared across the sky above them

METEOR SPARKS A RARE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IN ‘TANKOGRAD’

The meteor was undeniably traumatic, but it also brought a sense of co-operation in a troubled region.

Large numbers of volunteers came forward to help fix the damage caused by the explosion and many residents came together on the internet.

Many joked yesterday about what had happened in the troubled pocket of Russia, with one of the most popular jests: Residents of the meteor were terrified to see Chelyabinsk approaching.

Chelyabinsk, nicknamed Tankograd because it produced the famed Soviet T-34 tanks, can be as grim as its backbone heavy industries.

In 1957, a waste tank at the Mayak nuclear weapons plant in the Chelyabinsk region exploded, contaminating 9,200 square miles and prompting authorities to evacuate 10,000 nearby residents.

It is now Russia’s main nuclear waste disposal facility and a vast plant for disposing of chemical weapons lies 50 miles east of the city.

The focus of the meteor hunters’ efforts was a frozen reservoir outside the nearby town of Chebarkul, where the largest meteorite pieces are thought to have crashed, reports The Sunday Times.

Russian authorities stopped a group of locals searching around a hole in the ice as they want people to stay away from the fragments until scientists from Moscow have tested them. Russian authorities also said the search for the meteorite may have to wait until spring when the region’s ice and snow thaws.

‘The web is awash with people saying they want to buy this stuff,” said Oleg Karpov, a Chelyabinsk local. ‘Maybe this thing was not that bad after all if a few of us make some money out of it.’

Collectors from around the world will be keen to get hold of a piece. Film director Steven Spielberg is a noted collector. In October a 9in piece of the Seymchan meteorite found in Siberia in 1960 sold in New York for $43,750 (£28,200).

Astronomers have also revealed that the meteor could have hit UK cities if it had hit at a slightly different time of day.

Nasa said that when the meteor entered the atmosphere, it exploded with the force of a nuclear weapon.

The revelation, based on an analysis of the earth’s rotation, comes as scientists reveal that they are planning a state-of-the-art detection system to give warning of incoming asteroids and meteorites, reports the Observer.

The announcement of the decision to build the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System, or Atlas, on Hawaii was made following the meteorite crash in Russia.

If the meteorite had hit at a different time of day, it could have struck the UK with devastating consequencesIf the meteorite had hit at a different time of day, it could have struck the UK with devastating consequences

‘STREAK OF LIGHT’ SEEN OVER NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, people in California reported seeing an unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area that left many startled and thrilled.

Based on reports, the light streaking in the Northern California sky was a sporadic meteor, or fireball, and not a major event, said Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society in Genesee, New York. The group recorded at least 35 reports of the event, he said.

‘Fireballs happen every single night, all around the world,’ he said.

Experts say smaller meteorites hit earth five to 10 times a year but chances of a large meteor passing, such as the one that streaked over Chelyabinsk, Russia, are much rarer.

Read more: Source



Categories: Business, News mix

Tags: , , ,

8 replies

  1. I savour, lead to I found exactly what I was having a look for.

    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
    Bye

  2. Hi to all, it’s really a fastidious for me to pay a quick visit
    this website, it consists of useful Information.

  3. Nice answers in return of this ssue with genuine arguments and telling everything on the topic of that.

  4. This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!

  5. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  6. I know this website presents quality depending articles or reviews and
    extra information, is there any other web page which offers these kinds of
    stuff in quality?

  7. Les аrticless sont sincèrement attrayants

  8. Hi to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this site, and
    your views are nice for new people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: