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Geologist: Mazsalaca "meteorite" in Latvia is man-made

BC, Riga, 26.10.2009.Print version

North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve geologist Dainis Ozols has concluded that the object in Mazsalaca, thought to be a meteorite, is merely smoky ember of chemical elements and the wide crater around it is in fact man-made.


Ozols arrived at the location, where the alleged meteorite had fallen, at 9 a.m. today, as the geologist informed LETA. He established that the 10-12 meters wide depression in land surface was artificially created and afterwards potassium nitrate and sulphur were burned there.


The geologist believes that somebody merely wanted to pull a prank, therefore burned the chemical elements, filmed the scene and spread information about an alleged meteorite having fallen. The crater itself, however, in Ozols' opinion, was created for other purposes. It must have taken a lot of effort to dig it; in case the crater was actually dug by the prankster who burned the chemical elements in it, then he should have tried a bit harder to imitate a blast caused by a meteorite, the geologist said.


The geologist did not take samples of the ember yet because he is now on a two-day excursion with his pupils, however, he does admit that later on he might examine it closer to find out precisely what was burning in the hole.


On the other and, the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center's head of geology department Uldis Nulle believes the object that created the crater, actually was a meteorite. He reports from the scene that, as a result of collision with earth surface, the meteorite created an oval hole, approximately 8.5 meters to 9 meters in diameter, it is around three meters deep, as LETA found out from the Environment Ministry's information department.


Additionally, the collision has made the earth surface around the hole go up approximately one meter high. Geologist Nulle says that the signs show evidence of a major impact force. The crater, in its deepest point, has a diameter of approximately one meter, and has dark gray and black sediment, as well as signs of melting substance.


Nulle reports that, according to his estimates, the meteorite his the earth surface almost in straight 90 degrees angle. Furthermore, even over six hours after the collision, a smell of sulfur could be sensed in the vicinity of the hole.


As reported, University of Latvia Astronomy Institute expert Ilgonis Vilks already expressed doubt about the origin of the object claimed to be meteorite. He was surprised finding out about fire burning in the crater, as usually after colliding with earth surface, meteorites explode and their pieces are scattered in various directions.


A group of four experts, two geologists and two astronomers, has departed for Mazsalaca to examine the scene.

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