Biggest Piece of 55-Foot Meteor Found So Far: 7mm
And 7mm happens to be just .26 inches
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2013 9:02 AM CST
In this frame grab made from dashboard camera video, a meteor streaks through the sky over Chelyabinsk.   (AP Photo/AP Video)

(Newser) – The numbers are pretty staggering: The meteor that rocked Russia last week was the biggest since 1908, at 55 feet in diameter, estimates NASA. But the largest meteorite found to date by scientists with Ural Federal University measures just 0.26 inches in diameter, reports the Wall Street Journal. And a NASA scientist says something a little bigger should be out there: "When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones."

Viktor Grokhovsky, who works for UFU, agrees; his team has thus far plucked 53 fragments from the ice-covered Chebarkul Lake, reports the AP. Friday's meteor left a 20-foot-wide hole in the ice covering the lake, and divers say they found nothing at the bottom. "They just don't know what they are looking for," says Grokhovsky, who believes a piece as large as two feet could eventually be found there. (In the meantime, a Russian politician is blaming ... John Kerry.)

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
Feb 20, 2013 6:12 PM CST
There was a fragment of this meteor that sold on ebay that looks to be about the size of a baseball for $4,100 on the 19th. The seller claims it was the Chelyabinsky meteor and is from the Chelyabinsk area. Someone may wish to check into this.
Feb 19, 2013 2:51 PM CST
They might not find any pieces of that meteor larger then what they've found so far, maybe some pieces in the 1/2" size they might find. The problem is where it impacted & the temperature the rock must have been when it hit the frozen lake in Russia. Figure if the thing glowed as bright as the sun on entering our atmosphere its temp could have been as high as 10,000F (5540C) when it hit the frozen lake leaving the nice round 20 foot diameter hole where it impacted. The physics of a solid object at 10,000 Fahrenheit impacting a frozen lake with 32F (0C) temp water under inches of frozen ice on the surface of it aren't very good. The extreme temperature differential tends to cause the very hot mass to explode instantly, to disintegrate on contact with the freezing liquids. There must have been an enormous cloud of exploding space rock when it impacted the ice lake, along with an equally enormous cloud of steam from the instantly melted ice & water boiling up into the air above the 20-feet diameter hole it left. Those little pieces of near-10,000F space rock shrapnel would have spread out in a shotgun pattern around the main 20-foot diameter impact hole in the ice. When they landed around the main impact hole they would have just instantly melted through the ice to sink to the bottom of the lake. Good luck finding much of that thing right now guys. Better off waiting till summer comes & that lake melts & maybe you can find some bigger chunks of it at the bottom of the lake.
Feb 19, 2013 1:20 PM CST
I wonder at what point was it 55 feet? Doesn't it constantly break up as it falls to the Earth?