Space rock monster in Antarctica is one of the largest in 100 years

(ORDO NEWS) — There are many opportunities in Antarctica to find meteorites. The dark rocks stand out against the icy landscape. Its dry climate keeps weathering to a minimum.

And even when meteorites sink into the ice, they often return to the surface as a result of the churning of glaciers.

Despite these ideal conditions, large chunks of space rock are rarely found.

A team of explorers have just returned from an ice-covered continent with five new meteorites, including an unusually large one.

The largest find in this haul weighs 7.6 kg (16.8 lb), making it one of the top 100 largest meteorites discovered in Antarctica in the last century. Considering that about 45,000 copies were retrieved during this time, this is saying something.

This space rock monster is now being sent back to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where it will be carefully studied along with smaller rocks . Scientists can learn a lot from the travels of meteorites to our planet .

“Size doesn’t matter. It doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable scientifically,” says space chemist Maria Valdes of the Illinois Field Museum. “But of course, finding a large meteorite like this is rare, and it’s really interesting.”

While meteorites are easier to spot in Antarctica, traveling across the continent is not easy due to its freezing conditions and remoteness.

The team involved in this discovery spent several days in the wilderness, moving on foot and on snowmobiles.

It also helps to know where meteorites can be found. Here, the researchers used a “treasure map” published last year that uses clues found in satellite imagery, such as measurements of ice flow, temperature and surface slope, to use AI to make educated guesses about where new rocks might appear. can be found.

Space rock monster in Antarctica is one of the largest in 100 years 2
Researchers are working on the ice field

“Going on an adventure, exploring unexplored areas, is very exciting,” says geologist Vinciane Debail from the Free University of Brussels in Belgium.

“But we also had to deal with the fact that reality on earth is much more complex than the beauty of satellite images.”

The map used by the researchers is believed to be about 80 percent accurate in terms of accuracy. the directions it gives and its creators have estimated that over 300,000 meteorites are in Antarctica waiting to be found.

Despite favorable conditions in Antarctica for detecting meteorites, scientists believe that we are still missing out on discovering many of them, especially those with high iron content.

Part of the reason may be that these types of meteorites heat up in the sun, melt the surrounding ice, and disappear below the surface.

However, there is now an exciting new loot of these stones ready and waiting. should be looked at more closely – and somewhere in the recently discovered meteorites there should be traces of the history of the solar system in which we exist.

“The larger the sample size of meteorites, the better we can understand our solar system, and the better we can understand ourselves,” says Valdez.

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