Crater Mystery Has Nicaragua Stumped
If a passing asteroid didn't create the huge hole, then what did?
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2014 4:32 PM CDT
A provided by the Nicaraguan army shows a crater in a wooded area near Managua's airport.   (AP Photo/Nicaraguan Army)

(Newser) – When an asteroid passed by Earth and then a huge crater showed up in Nicaragua, the government there put two and two together and figured an errant piece of space rock was responsible for the hole. But scientists have since cast doubt on the theory, and now Nicaragua is asking for US help in solving the mystery, reports UPI. One of the main reasons scientists are skeptical is that anything capable of digging a crater 40 feet wide and 19 feet deep would have created a huge fireball on the way down, and nobody seemed to see anything. Given that the hole showed up near the airport and an air force base in the capital of Managua, that's hard to explain.

Plus, as a NASA expert tells National Geographic, the time of the asteroid's closest pass to Earth and the creation of the hole is off by about 13 hours. "The explosion and the asteroid are unrelated," asserts Don Yeomans. So what then? It beats Nicaragua. "Considering the small amount of experience and the lack of research means, Nicaragua desires to request the good offices of the (US) embassy to get the support of the US Geological Survey," the country's deputy foreign minister wrote to the American ambassador in Managua. No word yet on whether the US will send a team to investigate.