Russians rush for rich meteorite fragments

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Russians rush for rich meteorite fragments

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A meteor that exploded over Russia’s Ural mountains and sent fireballs blazing to earth has set off a rush to find fragments of the space rock which hunters hope could fetch thousands of euros a piece.

Friday’s blast and ensuing shockwave caused widespread damage, injuring more than 1,000 people.

But some of those who have kept evidence of the rare phenomena are not willing to let it go. With some chunks of the meteor estimated at up to 2,000 euros per gramme, one woman said: “We were never rich, so we’re not going to start to be now.”

Scientists at the Urals Federal University were the first to announce a significant find – 53 small, stony, black objects around Lake Chebarkul, near Chelyabinsk, which tests confirmed were small meteorites.

It is believed other larger pieces may have crashed into the lake where there is a crater in the ice about eight metres wide.

Victor Grokhovsky, a member of the Russian science academy, at Ural University said: “We have found different types of metals and minerals. We won’t pay too much attention to other components as we are now sure that these are pieces of a meteorite.”

Authorities said the shower caused around 25 million euros worth of damage. More than 20,000 people took part in search and clean-up operations at the weekend in and around Chelyabinsk, which is in the heart of a region packed with industrial military plants.