Chelyabinsk Meteor Is From Ancient Space Collision

Scientists think long-ago smashup led to last year's bang in Russia

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2014 10:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two big rocks collided in deep space about 290 million years ago, and a new study suggests that we earthlings felt the impact via that amazing meteor strike in Chelyabinsk, Russia, last year. Scientists analyzing meteorite fragments think that the chunk of asteroid that exploded over the city in 2013 got spat out of the long-ago collision, reports Reuters. The telltale sign is that the fragments are embedded with a mineral called jadeite, which forms under high pressure—as would exist in a major colliision.

"This impact might have separated the Chelyabinsk asteroid from its parent body and delivered it to the Earth," writes a Japanese researcher this week in the journal Scientific Reports. Assuming the timeline of 290 million years holds up under further research, it suggests that asteroids have a "much greater longevity than previously estimated," reports Discover. In fact, the lead researcher says it's possible that the meteor has "siblings" created in the same impact that theoretically could be headed our way, reports New Scientist.

In this Feb. 15, 2013, photo, the meteor flies over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.
In this Feb. 15, 2013, photo, the meteor flies over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.   (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru, Yekaterina Pustynnikova, File)
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