Monster space rock in Antarctica is one of the largest found in 100 years: ScienceAlert

Monster space rock in Antarctica is one of the largest found in 100 years: ScienceAlert
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It is in Antarctica it has a lot going for it when it comes to meteorite hunting. The dark rocks stand out against the icy landscape. Its dry climate minimizes exposure to weather. Even when meteorites sink into the ice, they often return to the surface as the glaciers churn.

Despite these ideal conditions, finding large chunks of space rocks is rare.

A team of researchers has just returned from the ice-covered continent with five new meteorites, including an unusually large specimen.

The large find in this dump weighed 7.6 kilograms (16.8 pounds). Considering that nearly 45,000 people have been restored during that time, that’s saying something.

This space rock monster is now being returned to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where it will be closely studied. with small rocks. Scientists can learn a lot from the journeys of meteorites they were forced to our planet.

“Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even small micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable scientifically” says cosmochemist Maria Valdes, from the Field Museum in Illinois. “But of course finding a large meteorite like this is rare and really exciting.”

While it is easier to detect meteorites in Antarctica, it is not so easy to cross the continent with its freezing cold conditions and remote location. The team involved in this discovery spent several days camping in the desert on foot and by snowmobile.

It also helps to know where to find meteorites. Here, the researchers used a “treasure map”. published last yearuses clues such as measurements of ice flow, temperature and surface slope found in satellite images to make educated guesses with the help of artificial intelligence about where new rocks might be found.

Antarctic meteorite expedition
Researchers work in the ice field. (Maria Valdes)

“It’s exciting to embark on an adventure exploring unknown territories” says geoscientist Vincian Debaillefrom the Libre de Bruxelles University in Belgium.

“But we also had to deal with the fact that the reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of satellite images.”

The map used by the researchers is thought to be about 80 percent accurate in terms of directions, and its creators estimate that there are more than 300,000 meteorites waiting to be found in Antarctica.

Despite the favorable conditions for meteorite discovery in Antarctica, scientists think we are still missed Many of them can be found, especially those high in iron. Part of the reason may be that meteorites of this type heat up in sunlight, melt the surrounding ice, and sink invisibly below the surface.

However, now an exciting new batch of these rocks is ready and waiting for a closer look – and the newly recovered meteorites must contain traces of the history of our Solar System somewhere.

“The larger the sample size of meteorites, the better we can understand our solar system and the better we can understand ourselves.” Valdes says.

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