'Meteor' Hole Sickens Peruvians

Crater spews toxic gases, say witnesses
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 9:02 AM CDT
In this photo released by La Republica Newspaper, people watch a crater in Puno, Peru, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2007, caused by a supposed meteorite that crashed in southern Peru over the weekend causing hundreds...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hundreds of Peruvians have complained of headaches, nausea, and vomiting since a fireball plummeting from space left a deep crater in a remote area of the Andes Saturday night. Witnesses say the 20-foot-deep crater spews noxious gases that sicken those who come near it, BBC reports. Animals have also fallen ill, and locals fear that drinking water may be contaminated by the crater.

A team of scientists is on its way to investigate whether the space object was in fact a meteor. While some experts doubt a meteor could make anybody sick, geologists have urged local authorities to keep people away from the 98-foot-wide crater. (Read more Peru stories.)