Antarctica Is the Land of Meteorites, and Here’s Why

The meteorite we’re going to talk about today is in excess of 16,000kg. And it does not take into account the dust that’s settling all the time on the planet.

Sometimes we are hit by an asteroid that simply changes our expectations. We don’t really get hit by asteroids, or if we do, they’re really small. Our estimates help us in getting a good sense of the quantity of rocky debris that’s falling from the space.

Dr. Geoff Evatt explains: “We’re talking about objects for which, when they strike the ground, the fragments sum together to over 50g. So, typically, 50g-10kg in total. Objects bigger than this are very, very infrequent.”

One of the results of the study was that it enables a risk assessment to be made for the entire planet. It actually shows that the number of falls at the poles is 60% of what you expect to be at the equator. It actually explains why scientists want to put any long-term contingency facilities at higher latitudes.

For example, The Global Seed Vault wants to retain copies of the plants found on Earth in case of a crisis, and it is placed at 78 degrees North on the Svalbard archipelago.

Scientists started a project in order to research the first UK-dedicated meteorite hunt in the Antarctic. They do research because they want to be sure that they will visit the most important areas for such a quest.

Antarctica in that place on Earth where scientists found and recovered most meteorites. The contrast of the fallen meteorites makes it very easy to search for them on snow and on ice. These hunters will go to some places where the movement of the ice sheet better shows the meteoritic material. These are called stranding zones.

Dr. Evatt has found out how many objects are found in their chosen area, and an area called the Outer Recovery Ice Fields, that s close to the Shackleton mountains in East Antarctica. They found 120 meteorites in two searches in 2019 and 2020.

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