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Hundreds Ill After Peru 'toxic Meteor Crash'

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...19/wperu119.xml

Hundreds of people have suffered headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems after an object from space - believed to be a meteorite - crashed in southern Peru.

Three geologists from Peru's Geophysics Institute are on their way to the site to determine whether it was, in fact, a meteorite, and are expected to present a report on the incident on Thursday.

Similar cases were reported in 2002 and 2004 elsewhere in southern Peru but were never confirmed as meteorites.

A satellite with nuclear power ?

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A big bang, a flash of light, lots of curious locals, headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems.

Sounds more like some underground natural gas leakage/explosion.

There is a term for this but I cant remember it.

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The chances of anything coming from mars are a million to one. :D

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Guest anorthosite

As someone who's studied meteorites at university level and has a large stash of them under the bed, I'm pretty sure this wasn't a meteorite. For one thing, you would expect there to be thousands of fragments of it in the area (some quite large) and there's no mention of this.

However, the two phrases that ring alarm bells for me are:

"Eyewitnesses watched a fiery ball fall from the sky and smash into the remote Andean plain near the Bolivian border on Saturday, local media reported."

I doubt it. Meteorites usually go dark about 30km up unless they're huge, which would have meant a much bigger crater. There's always reports of fireballs and lights in the sky, but something that big should have lit up half the country, even in daylight.

The other phrase is:

"Similar cases were reported in 2002 and 2004 elsewhere in southern Peru but were never confirmed as meteorites."

Wich suggests another phenomenon is at work. No idea what, but meteorites aren't fussy about where they land.

So not a meteorite. 100% guaranteed, correct (until more evidence comes in that is) :lol:

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Guest anorthosite

The BBC have a somewhat sensible page on the health risks of meteorites:

Q&A: Do meteors make you ill?

I do have one problem though - the type of meteorites that expose organic matter are known as carbonaceous chondrites, and are amongst the softest and most friable of meteorites - I doubt one would survive to make a crater like that unless it was huge, in which case there would have been widespread media reports about the fireball.

A few years ago I borrowed some meteorites from a museum for an exhibition I was organising. We were sent, amongst other things, a jar of one of these carbonaceous chondrites that the museum had had for decades. It was sealed in a jar and had crumbled to dust through mis-handling. It clearly hadn't been opened for years and so we decided to open it and have a sniff. There were 50 years worth of fermenting of the extra terrestrial organic molecules in there and when we opened it and took a sniff, the smell was amazing!

I also ate a tiny crumb that fell off a Martian meteorite, but that was just me being silly :lol:

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The BBC have a somewhat sensible page on the health risks of meteorites:

Q&A: Do meteors make you ill?

I do have one problem though - the type of meteorites that expose organic matter are known as carbonaceous chondrites, and are amongst the softest and most friable of meteorites - I doubt one would survive to make a crater like that unless it was huge, in which case there would have been widespread media reports about the fireball.

A few years ago I borrowed some meteorites from a museum for an exhibition I was organising. We were sent, amongst other things, a jar of one of these carbonaceous chondrites that the museum had had for decades. It was sealed in a jar and had crumbled to dust through mis-handling. It clearly hadn't been opened for years and so we decided to open it and have a sniff. There were 50 years worth of fermenting of the extra terrestrial organic molecules in there and when we opened it and took a sniff, the smell was amazing!

I also ate a tiny crumb that fell off a Martian meteorite, but that was just me being silly :lol:

Hi!

Whilst walking a few years ago I came across a matt black rock lying on the surface of the ground. There were no other rocks visiible (open grassland) and anyway the local stone is a light brown to white flint.. It was angular. But what struck me when I picked it up was its weight. It seemed very heavy for it's size.

I thought it might be a meteorite but dismissed it as it was just lying there - no crater or anything to indicate it had fallen from the sky.

I have kept it. Is it likely to be a meteorite? Can I get it checked anywhere?

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Guest wrongmove
Hi!

Whilst walking a few years ago I came across a matt black rock lying on the surface of the ground. There were no other rocks visiible (open grassland) and anyway the local stone is a light brown to white flint.. It was angular. But what struck me when I picked it up was its weight. It seemed very heavy for it's size.

I thought it might be a meteorite but dismissed it as it was just lying there - no crater or anything to indicate it had fallen from the sky.

I have kept it. Is it likely to be a meteorite? Can I get it checked anywhere?

Sounds like it to me.

Do you have a nearby university with a geology department?

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Guest anorthosite
Hi!

Whilst walking a few years ago I came across a matt black rock lying on the surface of the ground. There were no other rocks visiible (open grassland) and anyway the local stone is a light brown to white flint.. It was angular. But what struck me when I picked it up was its weight. It seemed very heavy for it's size.

I thought it might be a meteorite but dismissed it as it was just lying there - no crater or anything to indicate it had fallen from the sky.

I have kept it. Is it likely to be a meteorite? Can I get it checked anywhere?

From what you've said, my first thought would be that it isn't. Your use of the word "angular" is what does it - most meteorites are quite smooth thanks to their passage through the atmosphere. Some are rough and angular, but they're associated with larger events, not a single isolated stone. However, I won't make a snap judgement.

The first thing to check is is magnetism. Most meteorites have high iron contents, so try a magnet. If it sticks, you chances have increased.

Does it have any bowl shaped depressions? Inclusions often burn out faster than surrounding minerals during the stone's passage through the atmosphere, producing features known as "thumbprints". They can be from 20-30cm to just a few millimetres across.

Is it black or does it just have an ultra thin black crust? Meteorites can be many colours, but they always have a black crust called a fusion crust. If its a crust, is there damage? Can you see anything that sparkles in the light such as metal flakes?

The person in the UK to send suspect meteorites is Monica Grady at the Natural History Museum in London, forget the universities unless someone specialises in meteorites, they won't know for sure.

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Sounds like it to me.

Do you have a nearby university with a geology department?

Yep - should I just give 'em a ring and ask?

I've just gone and dug it out of the cupboard... it's now showing signs of rust! Must have a high iron content?

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Guest wrongmove
Yep - should I just give 'em a ring and ask?

I've just gone and dug it out of the cupboard... it's now showing signs of rust! Must have a high iron content?

I would send an email to a likely looking lecturer - students back any day now so even geology lecturers will be a bit busy at the moment!

The fact it is iron is another good indicator - anorthosite will probably be able to get to the bottom of it - anyone using that handle is going to know a lot of geology!

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Guest anorthosite

Can you post a photo of it? That'll tell me quite a lot. Meteorites usually have a very distinct look about them.

Where did you find it? There are a few established strewn fields in the UK where meteorites are known to have fallen.

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From what you've said, my first thought would be that it isn't. Your use of the word "angular" is what does it - most meteorites are quite smooth thanks to their passage through the atmosphere. Some are rough and angular, but they're associated with larger events, not a single isolated stone. However, I won't make a snap judgement.

The first thing to check is is magnetism. Most meteorites have high iron contents, so try a magnet. If it sticks, you chances have increased.

When I say angular it has 2 faces that are relatively flat but pitted with tiny small holes.

the rest looks melted but yet another side looks "angular" or fractured as though it has split from another piece.

Just tried a fridge magnet and it doesn't stick.

Does it have any bowl shaped depressions? Inclusions often burn out faster than surrounding minerals during the stone's passage through the atmosphere, producing features known as "thumbprints". They can be from 20-30cm to just a few millimetres across.

Yes it has one "thumbprint".

Is it black or does it just have an ultra thin black crust? Meteorites can be many colours, but they always have a black crust called a fusion crust. If its a crust, is there damage? Can you see anything that sparkles in the light such as metal flakes?

Looks like a thin coat with a very mettalic sheen where this has come off - the metallic bit is a "Brassy colour"

The person in the UK to send suspect meteorites is Monica Grady at the Natural History Museum in London, forget the universities unless someone specialises in meteorites, they won't know for sure.

Ok i'll do that. If I upload some pics of it maybe you could give me your thoughts?

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Yep - should I just give 'em a ring and ask?

I've just gone and dug it out of the cupboard... it's now showing signs of rust! Must have a high iron content?

Guesses - no pics . . . .

Sounds like some left over clinker/slag from metal working and 'melting down'. Poss Roman or later.

You might find lots more bits in the area if there was a furnace there.

It could be part of an old plough share coz when they were smelting they would chuck anything o hand in the smelting pot therefore the funny mix of metals. Brass with a 'black' coating is very odd!

The brassy colour might be reference to Bronze making - although Bronze would not normally rust and have a Green/not black coloured 'patina'

The Brassy edge is from plough damage or a power harrow that smashes everything down to 6 inches to pieces.

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Guesses - no pics . . . .

Sounds like some left over clinker/slag from metal working and 'melting down'. Poss Roman or later.

You might find lots more bits in the area if there was a furnace there.

It could be part of an old plough share coz when they were smelting they would chuck anything o hand in the smelting pot therefore the funny mix of metals. Brass with a 'black' coating is very odd!

The brassy colour might be reference to Bronze making - although Bronze would not normally rust and have a Green/not black coloured 'patina'

The Brassy edge is from plough damage or a power harrow that smashes everything down to 6 inches to pieces.

Sorry I'm having difficulty with my camera/phone at the mo... will upload asap. May have to borrow a friends digital camera.

Could be slag I suppose but it was just sat there on the top of the grass. Not even half buried.

Definately not a green patina. Dull rusty orange. But not that much of it.

As far as I know that area hasn't been plowed since 1066 as it is part of a royal hunting estate.

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Guest anorthosite
Just tried a fridge magnet and it doesn't stick.

That pretty much kills the probability of it being a meteorite, all but the rarest of meteorites will attract a magnet. I'll reserve judgement until I see the pics though.

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That pretty much kills the probability of it being a meteorite, all but the rarest of meteorites will attract a magnet. I'll reserve judgement until I see the pics though.

1003209cq8.jpg

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Guest anorthosite

Its not a meteorite I'm afraid. It has none of the distinct surface markings from ablation as it passes through the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what it is. It looks like it may contain hematite (iron ore), but it also looks like it might be volcanic. Difficult to tell.

But not a meteorite. Sorry.

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From what I understand the Cargo Doors of a DHL plane leaving from the UK en Route to to the US had not been correctly secured. Several Palletts subsequently fell from the Aircraft over Mexico.

Some of the Wooden Material has since been analysed and its stamped with the words "Top Secret HMG Downing Street"

It transpires that the cargo was a huge load of Economic bu11sh1t, hence the smell, nausea, sickness, that New Labour had hoped to dump in the US.

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Its not a meteorite I'm afraid. It has none of the distinct surface markings from ablation as it passes through the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what it is. It looks like it may contain hematite (iron ore), but it also looks like it might be volcanic. Difficult to tell.

But not a meteorite. Sorry.

Me three

Need to see a montage of photo's covering a few sides esp the brassy/shiny bit.

Are those stones/pebbles fused into the mass??

Best guess then would be a lightning strike.

Have only ever come across one which melted/fused clay to a rock about three inches thick and a foot in diameter - on my walks.

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Its not a meteorite I'm afraid. It has none of the distinct surface markings from ablation as it passes through the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what it is. It looks like it may contain hematite (iron ore), but it also looks like it might be volcanic. Difficult to tell.

But not a meteorite. Sorry.

No problem! It's good to get your opinion!

It was just weird that it was just sat there on the grass. With no obvious sign how it could have got there! I'm baffled.

Doesn't look like it had been transported by water. Doesn't match the local rock. Could it have been brought there by Glacial action as morrain?

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