MADISON, Wis. - 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.18993106
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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