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Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia

Anonymous Coward
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10/27/2009 04:12 AM
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Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia
RIGA, Latvia - A meteorite-like object crashed into a meadow in northern Latvia, creating a crater 27 feet (9 meters) wide and 9 feet (3 meters) deep, a geologist who visited the site said Monday.

Uldis Nulle, a scientist at the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center, said there was smoke coming out of the crater when he arrived at the crash site late Sunday in the Mazsalaca region near the Estonian border.

"My first impression is that, yes, it was a meteorite," he said. "All the evidence suggests this when compared to pictures of real meteorite craters."

He said the rim of the crater was slightly raised and there was a black-grayish scar at the bottom , both signs of a meteorite impact.

Experts outside Latvia said it was unusual for such a large meteorite to hit the Earth. The planet is constantly bombarded with objects from outer space, but most burn up in the atmosphere and never reach the surface.

In 2007, a meteorite crashed near Lake Titicaca in Peru, causing a crater about 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 15 feet (5 meters) deep.

Asta Pellinen-Wannberg, a meteorite expert at the Swedish Institute of Space Research, said she didn't know the details of the Latvian incident, but that a rock would have to be at least 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter to create a hole that size.

Henning Haack, a lecturer at Copenhagen University's Geological Museum said more information was needed to confirm that the crater was indeed caused by a meteorite. "With all these kind of reports we get there always is a pretty large margin of error," he said.

In Latvia, Nulle said a group of experts would examine the crater Monday and bring rock samples back to the capital, Riga, for testing.

Nulle rushed to the site after people in the area reported seeing a fiery object falling from the sky.

Inga Vetere of the Fire and Rescue Service said a military unit has tested the site and found that radiation levels are normal. There were no injures.

She said police have cordoned off the area to prevent souvenir hunters from taking away the soil.
[link to www.philly.com]
Anonymous Coward
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10/27/2009 04:15 AM
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Re: Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia
Confirmed hoax.
Anonymous Coward
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10/27/2009 04:21 AM
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Re: Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia
Dude, where the heck you been? It was a hoax.
Anonymous Coward
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10/27/2009 01:37 PM
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Re: Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia
Confirmed hoax.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 803892

Confirmed NON Hoax.

"after people in the area reported seeing a fiery object falling from the sky."

People witnessed it falling from the sky.

Noone dug any holes!

It was just a Cover Story for what really happened!!

"Official Denial" - watch the Movie....
Anonymous Coward
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10/27/2009 02:02 PM
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Re: Meteorite-like object falls in Latvia
From Times Online October 26, 2009

[link to www.timesonline.co.uk]

'Meteorite' that landed in Latvia is a hoax, experts say
Tony Halpin in Moscow
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It was the student prank that apparently fell to earth after experts dismissed a meteorite crash in Latvia as an elaborate hoax today.

Dramatic video of a fireball at the bottom of an impact crater on farmland outside the town of Mazsalaca was shown all over the world, taken by a group of film students who said that they had heard the meteor strike.

But experts who examined the scene were less star-struck. Dr Ilgonis Vilks, chairman of the scientific council at the University of Latvia’s Institute of Astronomy, said: “It’s a fake. It’s very disappointing, I was full of hope coming here, but I am certain it is not a meteorite.”

Setting aside the astronomical odds of a group of film students happening to be at the ready when a meteorite hits the Earth, Dr Vilks said that several other tell-tale signs had given the game away.

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There was green grass inside the crater despite the intense heat supposedly generated by the meteorite. The impact crater, initially reported as 10 metres deep, was actually only 3 metres including a lip of soil a metre high around the hole.

Dr Vilks said that there was neither ejected material from the hole nor any fragments of meteorite on the surrounding land. Finally, there was the flaming “meteorite” itself.

“It’s a ball of clay that was burning. We took some samples from it and geologists from the university will examine it,” Dr Vilks said. “There was a small blast heard by local people but this was not strong enough to create the crater and there’s only a small area in the hole that is burnt.”

Dainis Ozols, a nature conservationist who also examined the scene, said that he believed somebody had dug the hole and burnt a pyrotechnic compound at the bottom to make it appear like a meteorite crater.

The alert was first raised on Sunday evening by Ancis Steinbergs, who said that he had been out filming for a university project with his girlfriend and a fellow undergraduate. He was refusing to answer his telephone tonight to answer questions about the experts’ assessments.

He had earlier told The Times that the trio had heard a loud roaring sound “like an airplane falling from the sky” seconds before the alleged meteorite hit the field behind some trees.

Mr Steinbergs said: “We saw something burning in the sky like a ball and it was moving very fast and then there was a loud noise. We went to find it and there was this big hole with fire burning in it.

“It was so hot that the camera was misting up. We thought it was really dangerous because there might be an explosion.”

Video taken by the group showed them approaching the lip of the crater and filming the glowing hot “meteor” at the bottom as they talked excitedly among themselves. The clip bears similarities in style to the Blair Witch Project, a 1999 film based on supposedly “amateur” footage shot by three missing film students.

Mr Steinbergs said that he called Latvia’s Fire and Rescue Service. Inga Vetere, a spokeswoman, said that fire crews had attended the site and cordoned it off. Tests had recorded normal levels of radiation and nobody had been hurt.

Local news agencies reported that the landowner, Larisa Gerasimova, had been quick to capitalise on interest surrounding the crater and had begun to charge curious visitors $2 to view the site.

Earth is bombarded by thousands of small celestial objects every year but most burn up in the atmosphere before they reach the surface. The last recorded meteorite strike on land was in 2007 near Lake Titicaca in Peru, when it left a crater 12 metres wide (40ft) and five metres deep (15ft).