5 new meteorites discovered in Antarctica

(ORDO NEWS) — Antarctica is a pretty tough place to work. However, this is one of the best places in the world to hunt for meteorites.

This is partly due to the fact that Antarctica is a desert and its dry climate limits the extent to which meteorites can weather.

In addition to the dry conditions, the terrain is ideal for exploration, with the black rocks standing out clearly against the snow-covered fields.

An international team of researchers who have just returned from Antarctica have discovered five new meteorites.

The largest of them weighs 7.6 kg. Maria Valdez, a researcher at the Field Museum, has estimated that of the approximately 45,000 meteorites found in Antarctica over the past century, only about a hundred are the same size or larger.

“Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable scientifically,” says Valdez. “But, of course, finding a meteorite as large as this one is rare.”

In addition to Valdes, the group included Vincienne Debail and Rega Maeda from the Free University of Brussels, as well as Maria Schönbechler from ETH.

The researchers were the first to explore potential new meteorite impact sites mapped using satellite imagery.

“Going on an adventure, exploring unknown areas, is exciting,” says Debail. “However, we also had to face the fact that the reality is much more complex than the beauty of satellite images.”

Despite the fact that the trip took place during the summer in Antarctica, the temperature was around -10 °C.

Valdez notes that they spent their days snowmobiling and hiking through the ice fields and then sleeping in a tent, so the Antarctic weather seemed pretty extreme.

The five meteorites discovered by the team will be analyzed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

The sediment, potentially containing tiny micrometeorites, was divided among the researchers for study at their institutes.

Valdez admits that she can’t wait to see what the meteorite analyzes show.

“Studying meteorites helps us better understand our place in the universe.

The more we have a sample of meteorites, the better we can understand our solar system, and the better we can understand ourselves,” she said.


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