Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BONUS POST! Diseased Meteor Will Kill Us All!

LIMA (AFP) - Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.

Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.

Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.

"Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned," he said.




The Tunguska event, sometimes called the Tunguska explosion, was a massive explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya (Under Rock) Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, between 7:00 and 8:00 AM on June 30, 1908.

The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometers (3–6 mi) above Earth's surface. Different studies yielded varying estimates for the meteor's size, including 60 meters, 90 to 190 meters and up to 1200 meters in diameter.

Although the meteor or comet is considered to have burst prior to hitting the surface, this event is still referred to as an impact event. The energy of the blast was estimated to be between 10 and 20 megatons of TNT — 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The explosion felled an estimated 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometers (830 sq mi). It is estimated to have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

The Tunguska event is the largest impact event in recent history. An explosion of this magnitude had the potential to devastate large metropolitan areas had it occurred over a large city. This possibility has helped to spark discussion of ways to potentially stop large asteroids or comets from hitting Earth.




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