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A New Russian Meteorite?

Press Release From: Near Earth Object Information Centre
Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2002

On Thursday 3 October, residents of the village of Bodaibo in the Irkutsk region of Siberia witnessed the fall of a large glowing object from space. Witnesses saw a large fireball in the sky, followed by a thunder-like sound, a flash of light, and a small earth tremor.

Scientists from the Institute of Solar and Earth Physics of the Russian Academy of Science suspect the object is a large meteorite. It landed in the hills between the villages of Bodaibo and Balakhninsky. Early reports suggest there were no casualties or damage to property.

Siberia is no stranger to visiting rocks from space. Back in 1908, a near earth object detonated in the atmosphere above the Tunguska region, flattening 2000 square kilometres of forest. More recently, in February 1947, a large iron meteorite, estimated to weight 1000 tons, landed in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range.

Around 30,000 meteorites of varying sizes fall to Earth each year, but the vast majority fall in the oceans and deserts that make up the majority of the Earth's surface. If pieces of this new fall can be recovered, it may give scientists valuable insights into the nature of these rocks, which are remnants from the formation of our Solar System.

A group of scientists from the Institute of Solar and Earth Physics is to head for the new fall-site as soon as possible.

Near Earth Object Information Centre, National Space Centre, Leicester, U.K.

Contact:

Kevin Yates, keviny@spacecentre.co.uk, +44(0)116 2582130

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