Every year, around 17,000 pieces of space debris fall on the Earth’s surface, making it highly unlikely to discover all of them, as a large number of meteorites fall into deep bodies of water or in secluded areas.
But sometimes, scientists get lucky.
Just this January, a group of research scientists stumbled upon a ‘rare’ type of meteorite during their 11-day quest at the cold continent of Antarctica.
The research team of the Field Museum was roaming around the icy region when they found a huge meteorite—reported to be the size of a “gourd” –last January 5. According to group, this unique meteorite is the largest among all the five meteorites they discovered during their 11-day hunt.
The Antarctic ice terrain is one of the best hunting grounds for meteorites due to the little precipitation in the area. In an interview with Chicago Tribune, Maria Valdes, one of the members of the research team, stated that to put the meteorite’s size in perspective, of the 45,000 meteorites retrieved from Antarctica over the last century, only 100 are about the size of the one they discovered. She added that there are possibly a thousand more meteorites under the snow that yet to be discovered.
The meteorite the team found has a tiny glass-like crust and weighs 16.7 pounds.
The scientists’ quest for meteorites was largely spent on the rocky landscapes, but during the last four days, they went on ice field searches using snowmobiles for a chance to find a meteorite that stood out against the snow.
“When we saw this one just sitting by itself in the middle of the blue ice, we all got so excited because we knew that if we found a meteorite, this was really the mother lode. On the last day, the last hour,” Valdes said in a statement.
According to the Field Museum’s update, the chemical composition of the meteorite will be examined in Belgium for possible micrometeorites.
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