Scientists Discover 5 Intact Meteorites in Antarctica

A team of scientists has made a significant discovery in Antarctica, where they found five meteorites on the surface of the Nils Larsen blue ice zone near the Belgian-owned Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station. Among the five, one meteorite particularly stood out, weighing a whopping 7.6 kilograms (16.7 pounds). Only about 100 meteorites as heavy as this one have been discovered in Antarctica out of the 45,000 found to date. What Is Achondrites: The Unique Type of Meteorite

The meteorites were likely buried beneath the ice for thousands of years before resurfacing due to the churning motion of glaciers. However, the ice shielded the meteorites from precipitation, wind, and air, which allowed them to remain perfectly intact. The meteorites are believed to have come from the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and fell into the Antarctic blue ice several tens of thousands of years ago.

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Thanks to a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, which used satellite data and machine learning to identify parts of Antarctica where meteorite clusters are likely to be brought to the surface, the scientists were able to narrow down their search. Despite having a specific location, finding the meteorites still required a lot of effort as the team had to cover a large area with similar-looking rocks.

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The meteorite samples collected during the expedition have been sent to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences for proper analysis. The scientists also took back samples of potential meteorite dust for their own research. The team’s success in discovering meteorites in one of the potential hotspots highlights by the 2022 satellite study suggests that the study could be used by other researchers to recover even more frozen meteor fragments.

The expedition team hopes to find more meteorites in the future to gain a better understanding of our place in the universe. Studying meteorites helps us better understand our solar system and ourselves.

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