(ORDO NEWS) — At about 11:45 a.m. on September 15, 2007, residents of the village of Carancas in the remote highlands of Peru, near the Bolivian border and Lake Titicaca, on their usually quiet, calm day, were frightened to see a fireball fall.
It flew across the sky, behind clouds of smoke, bright enough to be seen for miles around, even though it was mid-afternoon.
It was a real sight for the locals, and it became even brighter when the object crashed into the ground, forming a mushroom cloud and leaving behind a crater 6 meters deep and 14 meters wide, from which boiling water and poisonous fumes splashed out, all surrounded by smoking black shards.
The impact from the object was so strong that the shock wave broke windows at a distance of up to a kilometer, damaged buildings, knocked a person off a bicycle, and his vibrations were recorded by seismographic and infrasound monitoring equipment even in Bolivia.
When officials and scientists arrived at the scene, they quickly determined that it was a large meteorite, estimated to be about 3 meters in diameter, weighing 12 tons, and hitting the ground at a speed of approximately 16,000 km per hour.
It was discovered that it was a chondritic meteorite, probably from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and while it was one of the largest meteorite falls in modern history, given its composition, it was a mystery why this thing did not burn up. in the atmosphere.
Indeed, for a chondritic meteorite, such a collision and crater was considered almost impossible, and Peter Schultz, professor of geological sciences, said about this: “This meteor hit the Earth at a speed of three kilometers per second, exploded and plunged into the ground. It just shouldn’t have happened. ”
The Carancas meteorite impact is still classified as the only known impact of a chondritic meteorite. It was also thought to be strange that the meteorite was so hot and with such fumes, rare for meteorite strikes, that actually fall quite cold and usually odorless.
A few days after the mysterious impact of the meteorite, many local residents (hundreds of people) who came to the place where the meteorite fell immediately after its fall began to suffer from a mysterious disease.
The unexplained illness included a variety of symptoms including skin injuries, rashes, nosebleeds, dizziness, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting, and soon the local hospital was filled with people suffering from mysterious ailments whose cause could not be determined.
In fact, so many people got sick that auxiliary medical tents were erected to cope with the influx of sick people, and no one knew what caused this outbreak of the strange disease.
There were also reports of livestock getting sick too, many of them bleeding from their noses and some even dying. The government even considered declaring a state of emergency
While the exact cause of the mysterious symptoms could not be determined even with blood tests, it was officially recognized that it had something to do with the meteorite, as most people began to get sick hours after they approached it.
One theory was that the groundwater was somehow contaminated, but if so, then why did the disease only affect people and animals that were around the meteorite?
Another idea was that arsenic, already present in the groundwater, was released as an aerosol by a hot meteor, but it was found that the level of arsenic in the water was at the same level as in drinking water in the rest of the areas and there was no one there.
It has also been speculated to have something to do with the strong sulfur odor reported near the crater. This is likely caused by the evaporation of a compound called troilite inside the meteorite, but this has not been confirmed.
Radiation was also taken into account, but was soon excluded when the readings taken at the crater were not higher than normal.
Fragments of the meteorite have been preserved and studied, but they are completely normal, and there is no indication as to why this particular event should have caused such an illness.
To this day, the mystery of the Carancas meteorite has not been fully resolved, and we can only guess what happened here.
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