Divers hope to raise biggest Chelyabinsk meteorite yet

Russian newspaper from last October showing divers rafting the 1,250-lb. hunk of Chelyabinsk meteorite to the shoreline of Chebakul Lake. The bold red headline reads: “Alien was raised from the bottom”. Credit: Bob King

Last October, divers fished out a 1.250 pound meteorite from Chebarkul Lake west of the city of Chelyabinsk. You’ll recall Chelyabinsk gave its name to the spectacular Russian fireball that rocked the city February 15 last year. The shock wave from the exploding meteoroid damaged buildings and shattered windows – flying glass injured some 1,600 people.

The largest piece of the meteorite pulled from Cherbarkul Lake is now on display in the Chelyabinsk Regional History Museum. Credit: Reuters

Thousands of small fragments pelted the snowy countryside near the city, and a big piece (or pieces) punched a neat hole some 20 feet (6-meters) through the ice of Chebarkul Lake. Russian scientists mapped the lake bottom soon after and found several “anomalies”. One of them proved to be the 1,250-pound behemoth, which divers retrieved after much effort.

It’s the largest fragment found to date, but that may change soon. Divers and scientists have found a dozen more anomalies, including one that indicates an object weighting several tons, according to Arkady Ovcharenko of the¬†Geophysics Institute of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Compilation of some of the best videos of the Chelyabinsk fireball

Last weekend, divers attempted to explore the new sites but high winds and turbid water put the kibosh on their efforts. This Saturday they used special probes to pinpoint two separate locations where the anomalies are clustered.

Vitaliy Khvatov, my contact in Russia, tells me that the search begins anew tomorrow to locate and retrieve the granddaddy meteorite and its siblings.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

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