Meteorites Found, But Beware Offers to Sell
Divers may have come up empty handed from their search in icy Lake Cherbarkul for a large chunk of the meteor that exploded near the Ural Mountains on Friday, but a team of scientists reportedly found small remnants (meteorites) in the vicinity. Offers to sell the meteorites are popping up already -- but buyer beware.
On Saturday, Russian news sources like RIA Novosti reported that the divers did not find any signs of a large core of the meteor in the lake. Witnesses had reported seeing the fireball go into the lake and a large hole was found in the ice covering it.
Yesterday, however, RIA Novosti quoted a scientist at the Urals Federal University as confirming that "the particulate matters, found by our expedition in the area of Lake Cherbarkul indeed have meteorite nature." The scientist, Victor Grohovsky, said it was an ordinary stony chondrite meteor and about 10 percent iron. Russia Today added that Grohovsky's team was not allowed to inspect the crater that the meteor made in the lake, but they found several dozen meteorites around the hole. The meteorites are between 0.5 and 1 centimeter in diameter, it continued, and "so far the researchers were able to confirm the samples' celestial origin out of the 53 small particles sampled."
Meteorite found in Russian lake, per Russia's RIA Novosti, February 17, 2013
Offers to sell the meteorites reportedly are appearing on social media outlets and the Internet, with prices as high as $4,000. Russian authorities are warning potential buyers not to be taken in. They reportedly have created a task force that is working 24 hours a day to verify all online offers for sales of the meteorites.
Meanwhile, Russia's Itar-Tass news service puts the final count of those who sought medical attention after the meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk at 9:20 am local time on Friday at 1,158, including 289 children; 52 people were hospitalized. Also, a "total of 4,715 buildings, including 3,700 apartment buildings, were damaged," it reported. The damage and injuries were caused by a shock wave created as the meteor descended through the atmosphere. Most injuries were from flying glass from broken windows.
SpacePolicyOnline.com has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.