Monday, 26 June 2017
'We're very excited': Dutch scientists celebrate 6th meteorite ever to be found in Netherlands
Dutch scientists are celebrating a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite which fell in the Netherlands earlier this year, the sixth of its kind ever to be found in the country. The "very special" space rock is also being unveiled to the public. The fist-sized meteorite fell through the roof of a shed in the small village of Broek in Waterland in January and was discovered the morning after its descent to Earth, geologist Leo Kriegsman, from the Naturalis biodiversity center in Leiden, Netherlands, said in a YouTube video.
He went on to state that the meteorite is only the sixth to be found in the Netherlands, even though space rocks of its size likely fall onto the country once every four years. "You could say on average we find one every, say, 30 years. The chances of finding that small thing is very, very small... it's very unique, we're very excited about it," he said.
The meteorite will be formally named the 'Broek in Waterland Meteorite,' named for the town where it was found, located just outside Amsterdam. Stressing that the meteorite is likely around 4.5 billion years old, Kriegsman said such space rocks are "very special."
"Meteorites are very special because we do not have rocks of this age on Earth," he said, adding that they allow scientists to understand what happened at the very beginning of the solar system.
Kriegsman believes the meteorite likely comes from the region between Mars and Jupiter, as there is a large asteroid belt that includes rocks "flying around,” which sometimes go out of their orbit and fall to Earth. While the meteorite only weighs half a kilogram (1.1 lbs), Kriegsman believes it was 10 or 20 times bigger before it hit the Earth's atmosphere. The meteorite is being unveiled by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, a national museum of natural history located in the city of Leiden. It is only being revealed now because scientists "wanted to be 100 percent sure of what kind of meteorite it was, so we needed to carry out some research first," Kriegsman told AFP.