13kg of Extraterrestrial Material Found in Iranian Desert by Russian Scientists
A team of Russian geologists from Ural Federal University recently returned from an expedition in the Lut desert in the east of Iran. The team found 13 kilograms of meteorite-like material. Sputnik Persian spoke with Viktor Grokhovsky a member of the Committee on Meteorites at the Academy of Sciences.
“We planned to send an expedition to the Iranian desert Lut, intending to find a concentration of extraterrestrial material, meteorites.” Grokhovsky said.
A team of 4 people, all employees of the laboratory Extra Terra Consortium made a trial expedition to Iran.
According to the scientist, the expedition was successful. “The team managed to collect a sufficient number of extraterrestrial materials, with the support of their Iranian colleagues from the University of Kerman.”
Experts believe that about 80% of the samples which have been brought back from the desert actually have extraterrestrial origins. Russian scientists left part of the found samples in Iran for their colleagues from Kerman University.
Talking about the findings of the team, Grokhosvky told Sputnik Persian that, “During the field work, about 13 kilograms of the samples, which is considered to be meteorite, were found. Half of the found fragments have remained with our Iranian colleagues; the other half has arrived at our test lab. For now the samples have been measured and entered into the catalogue.”
He further said that it turned out that many fragments were remains of a meteor shower. About 70 individual pieces were collected with 10-12 of these fragments belonging to the same type of meteorite.
According to him, examination of the samples will start soon and the process will be time consuming. The professor will be helped by students from the university who are studying cosmic meteorology. The next step for the team will be to investigate how old the meteorite fragments actually are.
“In order to determine the age of the found fragments, the scientist should consider when a fragment was formed in space, when it split from its parent body and how much time has it spent on Earth,” Grokhovsky said. According to the scientist, meteoritic matter is the same age as our solar system, about 4.5 billion years old.
Grokhosvky also expressed hope that Iranian students will also participate in this sample study together with their Russian counterparts.
The scientist noted that the funding for this expedition was completely provided by the scientific laboratory Extra Terra Consortium, which is part of Ural Federal University.
“Hence, we will put forward a task in which we will determine for how long the meteorite fragments have been on Earth. Based on the isotopes it will be possible to talk about cosmogonist age, that is, how long the outer body of the meteorite was in the form of an asteroid. Ahead lays great and difficult work,” Grokhovsky concluded.
The expedition was being organized since November last year. The scientists pointed out that the geographical and climatic conditions of Lut desert contribute to the preservation of a unique meteorite material.
Previously, the researchers from Russian city of Yekaterinburg conducted long journeys in search of similar meteorites. A group of scientists spend some time in Antarctica last year, where they were able to find 103 samples of the mysterious extraterrestrial rocks.