UW researchers complete analysis of 2010 meteor
Mifflin meteorite landed in Wisconsin
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have completed their analysis of a meteorite that struck Wisconsin on April 14, 2010, and are ready to publicly release their findings.
The researchers said the so-called "Mifflin meteorite" created a fireball equivalent of 20 tons of TNT.
Using an electron microscope, researchers found metals in the space rocks connecting the fragments to a piece that scientists said predates Earth's formation.
"So to find metals, that tells us it came from a place where there was not a lot of free oxygen. To me, the metals are the most interesting thing," said John Fournelle, a researcher at UW-Madison.
Combining the existence of metals with evidence of high heat, researchers connected Mifflin's formations to a specific class of space rocks.
"One of the things we learned about the Mifflin meteorite is what kind it is. It's called a l5 chondrite, and the l chondrites are a class of meteorites that have been hitting the earth for 500 million years," said John Valley, a geoscience professor at UW-Madison.
Researchers said the l5 chondrites all came from one astronomical body that formed 4.5 billion years ago.
As to whether the Mifflin meteorite could come from the same l5 chondrite-based meteor as the one that recently hit Russia, scientists said it's still too early to tell.
The meteor in Russia is about 17 times bigger than the Mifflin meteorite.
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