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How The Peruvian Meteorite Made It To Earth
Science Daily ^ | 3-12-2008 | Brown University

Posted on 03/12/2008 1:00:08 PM PDT by blam

How The Peruvian Meteorite Made It To Earth

The Carancas Fireball. Planetary geologists had thought that stony meteorites would be destroyed when they passed through Earth's atmosphere. This one struck ground near Carancas, Peru, at about 15,000 miles per hour. Brown University geologists have advanced a new theory that would upend current thinking about stony meteorites. (Credit: Peter Schultz, Brown University)

ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2008) — It made news around the world: On Sept. 15, 2007, an object hurtled through the sky and crashed into the Peruvian countryside. Scientists dispatched to the site near the village of Carancas found a gaping hole in the ground.

Peter Schultz, professor of geological sciences at Brown University and an expert in extraterrestrial impacts, went to Peru to learn more. Brown graduate student Robert “Scott” Harris collaborated on the research, joined by Jose Ishitsuka, a Peruvian astrophysicist, and Gonzalo Tancredi, an astronomer from Uruguay.

What Schultz and his team found is surprising. The object that slammed into a dry riverbed in Peru was a meteorite, and it left a 49-foot-wide crater. Soil ejected from the point of impact was found nearly four football fields away. When Schultz’s team analyzed the soil where the fireball hit, he found “planar deformation features,” or fractured lines in sand grains found in the ground. Along with evidence of debris strewn over a wide area, the shattered sand grains told Schultz that the meteorite had maintained a high rate of speed as it shot through the atmosphere. Scientists think it was traveling at roughly 15,000 miles per hour at the moment of impact.

“Normally with a small object like this, the atmosphere slows it down, and it becomes the equivalent of a bowling ball dropping into the ground,” Schultz said. “It would make a hole in the ground, like a pit, but not a crater. But this meteorite kept on going at a speed about 40 to 50 times faster than it should have been going.”

Scientists have determined the Carancas fireball was a stony meteorite – a fragile type long thought to be ripped into pieces as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and then leaves little more than a whisper of its journey.

Yet the stony meteorite that struck Peru survived its passage mostly intact before impact. “This just isn’t what we expected,” Schultz said. “It was to the point that many thought this was fake. It was completely inconsistent with our understanding how stony meteorites act.”

Schultz said that typically fragments from meteorites shoot off in all directions as the object speeds to Earth. But he believes that fragments from the Carancas meteorite may have stayed within the fast-moving fireball until impact. How that happened, Schultz thinks, is due to the meteorite’s high speed. At that velocity, the fragments could not escape past the “shock-wave” barrier accompanying the meteorite and instead “reconstituted themselves into another shape,” he said.

That new shape may have made the meteorite more aerodynamic – imagine a football passing through air versus a cinderblock – meaning it encountered less friction as it sped toward Earth, hitting the surface as one large chunk.

“It became very streamlined and so it penetrated the Earth’s atmosphere more efficiently,” Schultz said.

Schultz’s theory could upend the conventional wisdom that all small, stony meteorites disintegrate before striking Earth. If correct, it could change the thinking about the size and type of extraterrestrial objects that have bombarded the Earth for eons and could strike our planet next.

“You just wonder how many other lakes and ponds were created by a stony meteorite, but we just don’t know about them because when these things hit the surface they just completely pulverize and then they weather,” said Schultz, director of the Northeast Planetary Data Center and the NASA/Rhode Island University Space Grant Consortium.

Schultz’s research could have implications for Mars, where craters have been discovered in recent missions. “They could have come from anything,” he said. “It would be interesting to study these small craters and see what produced them. Perhaps they also will defy our understanding.”

These findings will be present at the 39th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in League City, Texas on March 11, 2008.

Adapted from materials provided by Brown University.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; earth; godsgravesglyphs; meteor; meteorite; peru

1 posted on 03/12/2008 1:00:09 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.


2 posted on 03/12/2008 1:01:29 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Like stony meteorites, glass beads break apart when travelling at high speeds through the air, experiments show (left). But under the right conditions, the fragments can stay together in a dense swarm that can still gouge a crater on the ground (right) (Image: Peter Schultz et al/Brown

3 posted on 03/12/2008 1:04:44 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

gravity?..............


4 posted on 03/12/2008 1:05:58 PM PDT by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: blam

Peter Schultz, professor of geological sciences at Brown University and an expert in extraterrestrial impacts, went to Peru to learn more.

Yup, it’s a hole all right! Let’s go home.


5 posted on 03/12/2008 1:06:11 PM PDT by Recon Dad (Marine Spec Ops Dad)
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To: blam
Schultz’s theory could upend the conventional wisdom that all small, stony meteorites disintegrate before striking Earth. If correct, it could change the thinking about the size and type of extraterrestrial objects that have bombarded the Earth for eons and could strike our planet next.

Sorry, Brown geologists. In the new era of politicized science (think GW), conventional wisdom can't be changed, at least without approval from the United Nations. Evidence doesn't count.

6 posted on 03/12/2008 1:25:58 PM PDT by hellbender
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To: blam
“It was to the point that many thought this was fake. It was completely inconsistent with our understanding how stony meteorites act.”

While science is afflicted with fakes, a lot of neat and puzzling artifacts are automatically discounted because they are "inconsistent with our understanding".

Reminds me of the authorities when they find a perp that didn't fit their thinking. "He didn't fit the profile." No, the profile didn't fit him.

7 posted on 03/12/2008 1:26:25 PM PDT by Oatka (A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." –Bertrand de Jouvenel)
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To: blam

Mapquest?


8 posted on 03/12/2008 1:29:32 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: blam

Interesting. A self-forming projectile.


9 posted on 03/12/2008 1:49:29 PM PDT by tanuki (u)
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To: Recon Dad

I was wondering if the debris found 4 football fields away was in reference to a 9man,11man,arena,standard NFL field or a soccer field....I was hoping he would clarify


10 posted on 03/12/2008 2:13:13 PM PDT by Minnesoootan (CHANGE: That's all tax payers will be left with.)
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To: Minnesoootan

Since he’s from Brown U, I’d say it’s a Soccer field.


11 posted on 03/12/2008 2:18:38 PM PDT by Recon Dad (Marine Spec Ops Dad)
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To: blam

Like stony meteorites, glass beads break apart when travelling at high speeds through the air, experiments show (left). But under the right conditions, the fragments can stay together in a dense swarm that can still gouge a crater on the ground (right) (Image: Peter Schultz et al/Brown

12 posted on 03/12/2008 2:33:38 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Recon Dad

BUMP!


13 posted on 03/12/2008 2:35:52 PM PDT by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: blam
"...Schultz’s research could have implications for Mars, where craters have been discovered in recent missions..."

Thank goodness we've just recently discovered those craters on Mars.

14 posted on 03/12/2008 2:40:27 PM PDT by frankenMonkey (101st Airborne Army Dad)
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To: tanuki
Interesting. A self-forming projectile.

That seems a like a very good analogy, at the least. It might be more than that.

15 posted on 03/12/2008 2:40:55 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: Oatka
when they find a perp that didn't fit their thinking. "He didn't fit the profile." No, the profile didn't fit him.

Hah! I rather like that.

16 posted on 03/12/2008 2:50:47 PM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Minnesoootan
I was wondering if the debris found 4 football fields away was in reference to a 9man,11man,arena,standard NFL field or a soccer field....I was hoping he would clarifY

And while they're at it, they could also specify whether the field was an electric or magnetic one.

17 posted on 03/12/2008 2:56:48 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: Oatka
While science is afflicted with fakes, a lot of neat and puzzling artifacts are automatically discounted because they are "inconsistent with our understanding"..

Ironically, meteors themselves used to be in this category until at least the late 18th Century. The scientific wisdom went, "There are no stones in the sky, therefore no stones can fall from the sky."

For big fun mocking this sort of thinking by throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into the mix, track down the books of Charles Fort.

18 posted on 03/12/2008 3:06:38 PM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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Schultz's theory could upend the conventional wisdom that all small, stony meteorites disintegrate before striking Earth.
Heh... thanks blam.
 
Catastrophism
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19 posted on 03/13/2008 9:57:48 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
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Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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20 posted on 03/13/2008 10:01:42 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
Ironically, meteors themselves used to be in this category until at least the late 18th Century. The scientific wisdom went, "There are no stones in the sky, therefore no stones can fall from the sky."
I wholeheartedly agree, and would add "until at least the early 21st century". The belief that stones didn't fall out of the sky, that they were instead carried by the winds from elsewhere, dates back at least as far as Aristotle, and may have originated with him.
21 posted on 03/13/2008 10:05:09 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
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To: blam; All

I remember a few months ago when this story was first posted, a lot of commenters said the hole was only 6 feet in diameter and they were lying about it being 30 or 40 feet wide.

I wonder of the scientists have tested for fullerines, shocked quartz, and rare earth radioactive elements?


22 posted on 03/13/2008 11:06:19 AM PDT by gleeaikin
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““Normally with a small object like this, the atmosphere slows it down, and it becomes the equivalent of a bowling ball dropping into the ground,” Schultz said. “It would make a hole in the ground, like a pit, but not a crater. But this meteorite kept on going at a speed about 40 to 50 times faster than it should have been going.””

Alert!! Alert!!

The dreaded Meteorites have upgraded their propulsion systems to a new generation of hyperdrive engine!!


23 posted on 03/13/2008 12:16:25 PM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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