Russian meteor fragment literally breaks the scales

Divers have recovered what is believed to be a large chunk of the meteor that exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region in February.

Nasha gazeta/www.ng.kz/AP
A trail from the Chelyabinsk meteor streaks the sky over a highway in Kostanai, Kazakhstan. Divers pulled from a lake what is believed to be the largest piece yet of the meteor whose explosion injured some 1,500 people earlier this year.

Divers have lifted from the bottom of a lake what is believed to be a massive hunk of the meteor that exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region earlier this year.

If confirmed to belong to the meteor, the rock will be the largest piece to have been recovered so far, weighing almost half a ton, according to the state-funded news outlet Russia Today. It’s exact weight, though, is unknown, since the rock split in three as soon as it was lifted from the water and then broke the scale as the team tried to weigh it, RT said.

The rock was pulled from Lake Chebarkul, in the Urals, the mountain range that ribs western Russia, on Wednesday.

Efforts last month to tug the enormous fragment from the lake had failed when the team found that the rock, submerged at least 40 feet deep, was buried under thick mud. It took ten days for the team to pump out the sediment so that the rock could be pried loose, RT reported.

In February, an 11,000-ton meteor exploded over southwestern Russia's Chelyabinsk region. The force of the blast – releasing some 20 to 30 times the energy of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima – shattered windows throughout the city of Chelyabinsk below, injuring more than 1,500 people.

About 12 other pieces of rock alleged to be from the meteor have been collected so far, the largest of which weighed about 25 lbs, reported Radio Free Europe, a broadcasting service run by the US government. But just four or five of them have been confirmed to be real meteor split-offs, the BBC said. The new, super-sized chunk was taken to a regional natural history museum, where its composition will be confirmed.

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