Saturday, December 22, 2012

Meteoric treasure found at Sutter's Mill, home of the California Gold Rush



Dramatic Sutter's Mill meteorite proves rare scientific treasure

The fireball that streaked through the skies on April 22 and exploded with the equivalent of four kilotons of TNT and fell around Sutter’s Mill, birthplace of the California Gold Rush. Scientists and meteor hunters alike quickly hunted down a few of the fallen fragments just before rain hit, allowing them an unprecedented look at the most pristine sample of a rare type of carbon-rich asteroid yet found.

Now a study published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science shows that all that hustle paid off. The Sutter's Mill meteor shows chemical evidence of a complex formation history -- evidence that would have been wiped out by the rain, said lead author Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer at the NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute in Mountain View.

Meteorites are chunks of the asteroids that fall to Earth, and they give planetary scientists a look back into the solar system’s history. Scientists think these far-out bits of rocky debris may have originally brought organic molecules, the building blocks for life, to Earth.

The Sutter’s Mill meteorite, which came in at a blazing 28.6 kilometers per second -- nearly 64,000 miles per hour -- weighed roughly 44 tons just before burning up and exploding in the Earth’s atmosphere. Tracked using Doppler weather radar imaging, it rained in countless pieces over an area roughly 7 kilometers by 4 kilometers, Jenniskens said.

“It was like a hailstorm of stones over gold country,” Jenniskens said.

Continue reading...


No comments:

Post a Comment

LITS is a site dedicated to the study of the UFO and alien phenomena. You'll find information about UFO sightings, alien abductions, astronomy, science and technology.

This is a Non-profit site. Comments that contain URLs will be deleted.

I do not edit comments, so if you don't want your address posted and you have a question, or have had a sighting you wish to report, please email me directly, rather than post a comment. My email addresses are listed on the "Report UFO Sightings" page. Thank you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...