A rare meteorite was discovered in Antarctica. It was found by an international team of scientists at Belgium’s Antarctica research station.
The meteorite is also the largest in almost 25 years, helping them to unlock the secrets of the solar system.
The meteorite in Antarctica weighs almost 40 pounds and was discovered on the Nansen Ice Field, reports The Associated Free Press.
It was part of a haul of 425 rocks that had a total weight of 75 kilograms. Vinciane Debaille, a geologist from Universite Libre de Bruxelles, who led the Belgian part of the team, stated:
“This meteorite was a very unexpected find for us, not only due to its weight, but because we don’t normally find such large meteorites in Antarctica.”
“This is the biggest meteorite found in East Antarctica for 25 years so it’s a very special discovery for us.”
The team was comprised of Belgian and Japanese scientists. They drove across the East Antarctic plateau on snowmobiles looking for meteorites. Initial tests on the space rock show that it is chondrite, the most common type of meteorite found on Earth, according to NBC News.
The Russian meteor that injured 1,000 people two weeks ago was also made of chondrite. Scientists travel to Antarctica every year in search of meteorites. Their black crust stands out from the stark white snow and the dry climate near the South Pole helps preserve any organic chemicals inside the space rocks. Debaille also stated of the rare meteorite:
“This is something very exceptional. When you find such a meteorite on Earth, it means that when it was in the sky, it was much larger.”
The Russian meteorite was estimated at about 50 feet across when it hit Earth’s atmosphere. So far, scientists have found small fragments, the largest of which was about two pounds. A meteorite chunk of 40 pounds means that the meteor that struck Antarctica was much larger.
The scientists who discovered the rare meteorite in Antarctica were based out of Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Antarctic research base.