Planetologists and geologists from around the world, led by Dr. Mathias van Ginneken of the University of Kent’s School of Physical Sciences, said that a large meteorite fell about 430,000 years ago in East Antarctica.
The celestial body did not leave behind a crater, as it turned into a stream of molten material on its way to Earth. Nevertheless, the strength of this impact event, according to the authors’ estimates, was higher than that from the fall of the Tunguska meteorite.
Collected 17 tiny round black particles less than a millimeter in diameter, resembling S-type space spherules, consisting mainly of olivine, minor iron spinel and interstitial glass.
Experts attribute such events to the transitional type, which occupies an intermediate position between the explosions of extraterrestrial bodies in the atmosphere and impact events.
Spherules are chondrites, and the ratio of trace elements and high nickel content confirms their primary extraterrestrial nature: the particles interacted with the oxygen of the ice sheet during their formation in the shock plume.
According to scientists, the size of the meteorite ranged from 100 to 150 meters.