Passing Asteroid Tied to Blast in Nicaragua

Scientists say 'Pitbull' 2014 RC caused Managua blast
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2014 3:37 AM CDT
Passing Asteroid Leaves Chunk in Nicaragua
This photo provided by the Nicaraguan army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua's international airport.   (AP Photo/Nicaraguan Army)

A house-sized asteroid nicknamed "Pitbull" came close to Earth over the weekend—and appears to have taken a bite out of Nicaragua. There was a mysterious blast in the capital, Managua, late Saturday night, and government scientists believe it's connected to asteroid 2014 RC, reports Reuters. The explosion left a crater 40 feet wide and 16 feet deep on the outskirts of the city, near the airport. Government scientists say they believe it was caused by a "relatively small" meteorite and they plan to ask international experts for help, the AP reports.

"It could have come off that asteroid because it is normal for that to occur. We have to study it more because it could be ice or rock," a Nicaraguan volcanologist tells the BBC. At its closest, the asteroid came within around 25,000 miles of Earth—a tenth of the distance to the moon—and "its orbit will bring it back to our planet's neighborhood in the future," according to NASA, which says "the asteroid's future motion will be closely monitored, but no future threatening Earth encounters have been identified." (Read more Nicaragua stories.)

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