A huge chunk of space has been discovered at the bottom of a Russian lake.
A fragment of a meteorite that weighs 1,255 pounds was removed from Lake Chebarkul in central Russia on Wednesday. The space rock could be the largest piece of the meteorite ever found, the BBC reports.
“The preliminary examination ... shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite,” Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor of Chelyabinsk State University, said in a statement referring to a 10,000-ton meteorite that hit the region on Feb. 15. “It’s got thick burn-off, the rust is clearly seen and it’s got a big number of indents.”
The five-foot-long boulder was covered and placed on a metal sheet before being brought to shore. Trouble came when scientists tried to weigh the giant meteorite, which crumbled into three pieces when it was airlifted. Then the scale broke once it hit the 1,255-pound mark.
A natural history museum now houses the giant chunk, which will have samples sent to labs to determine if it in fact came from space. If it is, it may be “one of the top ten biggest meteorite fragments ever found,” Zamozdra said.
The chunk, which was found at the beginning of September, had several failed attempts at being brought to the surface before the latest try. Divers found the meteorite 65 feet underwater buried in mud, which took 10 days to remove, RT reports.
The meteorite now known as the “Chelyabinsk Meteorite” weighed about 11,000 tons when it hit central Russia injuring more than 1,600 people. The meteorite’s explosion was comparable to a nuclear bomb, according to Mikhail Marov, deputy head of the planetary research and space chemistry department, at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geo-Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.
"Actually, the speed of a meteorite's vertical drift is typical of surface nuclear explosions, which makes appropriate the comparison with a nuclear explosion," he said, according to the Voice of Russia. The Associated Press said the meteorite explosion was as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs when it landed near Chelyabinsk, a city with a population of more than 1 million people.
The chunk that was removed from the lake is believed to be the biggest fragment of the meteorite -- the largest to date weighs only 10 pounds. Other remnants from the meteorite that were tested suggest the space rock is billions of years old.
"An analysis of Chelyabinsk meteorite fragments shows that its age practically coincides with that of the solar system, 4.56 billion years. In fact, we possess a rock from the times of genesis," Marov told the Voice of Russia.
This isn’t the only meteorite to be pulled from Lake Chebarkul. Another fragment that's believed to weight anywhere between 660 to 1,110 pounds is expected to be pulled from the lake later on Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation reports.