The biggest chunk of the Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite finally saw the light of day when divers fished it up from Chebarkul Lake earlier today. The soaking wet, half-ton rock glistened on the cold, cloudy morning, its surface scalloped by hollows of rock called regmaglypts melted away during its searing flight through the atmosphere last February 15.
Video of the big catch!
Scientists and divers pulled the 5-foot-long (1.5 meter) rock from under a thick layer of silt, wrapped in a protective blanket and slid it ashore on a metal sheet. The crowd huddled around taking pictures with cameras, phones and iPads as the rock was lifted onto a scale to be weighed. As scientists used levers and ropes to hoist it from the ground, the giant meteorite broke into three pieces. Moments later it broke the scale when it hit the 1,255 pound mark!
With an estimated total weight of over 1,300 pounds (600 kg), this busted chunk of Chelyabinsk will likely make the Top Ten list of largest meteorites found. While 1,300 pounds is nothing to sniff at, the original meteoroid that entered that atmosphere that cold February morning is estimated to have weighed 10,000 tons! Some of that landed as smaller fragments, much of it burned up in the atmosphere, leaving a dusty, smoky trail that lingered for hours over the city of Chelyabinsk and the Ural Mountain region. The shock wave from the explosion of the meteoroid shattered thousands of windows, injuring some 1,200 people.