[meteorite-list] Exploding Meteor over Argentina

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:08:05 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201607222308.u6MN85o1013514_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


What was that explosion? A meteor, it turns out
Agence France-Presse
July 22, 2016

Residents of a city in southern Argentina got a scare when a series of
powerful explosions shook homes and buildings Wednesday, but the cause
turned out to be a natural wonder: a meteor disintegrating overhead.

It was an ordinary Wednesday afternoon in General Roca, a city of 85,000
people, when suddenly a series of loud blasts caused buildings to shake
and windows to rattle.

"Everything trembled," said Martin Soria, the local mayor.

Police, firefighters and emergency workers rushed to the scene, but found
no evidence of a bomb, earthquake or calamity.

Finally, scientists pieced together the reason: A meteor had entered the
Earth's atmosphere some 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) overhead, traveling
at 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) per hour.

"It took everyone by surprise because it entered the atmosphere over an
inhabited area. If it had fallen over the desert, the sea, Antarctica,
we would never have known," said astronomer Roberto Figueroa, head of
the nearby Neuquen observatory.

He estimated the meteor measured about 12 meters in diameter before breaking
into three fragments.

"It was likely a mineral meteor that entered the atmosphere at high speed
at a very close angle to the Earth. As soon as it contacted the (atmospheric)
gases, it heated up, the stone dilated, broke apart and fell as ash,"
he said.

"Some of the larger pieces may have reached the lower layers of the atmosphere
and burned up there. Since they arrived at tremendous speed, they produced
an expansive wave that could be heard as a boom."
Received on Fri 22 Jul 2016 07:08:05 PM PDT

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