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Meteorite Falls from the Sky, Crashes into Rice Field in India

Anyone still doubting that this is on the rise?!

via Time of India:

Madhubani/Patna: Farmers working in a paddy field at a village in Madhubani district were left shaken when a meteorite-like object weighing around 15kg fell from the sky, leaving a crater at the spot where it crashed.

Madhubani DM Shirsat Kapil Ashok told TOI that the incident took place around 2.30pm on Monday. “Agriculture labourers working the paddy field where the meteorite struck claimed that they saw a fireball-like object coming down from the sky and made a deep crater where it hit the ground. The farmers also saw smoke coming out from the spot in the water-filled agriculture field,” Shirsat said.

Displaying the ‘meteorite’ wrapped in a red cloth on Tuesday morning, the Madhubani DM said the stone-like object has magnetic properties. He added that the mysterious object was kept secure in the treasury office at the Madhubani collectorate.

“I have written a letter to the principal secretary of the science and technology department along with a copy to the principal secretary of state art, culture and youth affairs department,” Shirsat said, adding the sample was sent to Patna on Tuesday evening.

“The science and technology department will take a decision regarding further action. The object might be sent to space research organisations like ISRO or any museum,” Shirsat said.

© STR/AFP/Getty Images A villager holds the suspected meteorite.

© STR/AFP/Getty Images
A villager holds the suspected meteorite.

Geoscientists are not surprised at the fall of a meteorite in Madhubani district as it is said to be a common phenomenon. But the weight and size of the meteorite is noteworthy, they said.

N Dayal, a retired director of Geological Survey of India, pointed out that a meteorite weighing about five kg had fallen at Sherghati in Gaya district on August 25, 1865.

The said meteorite was a Martian rock which had solidified from a volcanic magma more than four billion years ago. Two pieces of meteorites weighing 600 gm and 200 gm respectively fell at Parsa in Muzaffarpur on April 14, 1942. However, a number of meteorites of bigger size have reportedly fallen in other states, including Jharkhand in the past and most of them have been studied in detail, Dayal said.

Patna University geology department head Ramesh Shukla said every year the earth is hit by nearly 6,100 meteors large enough to reach the ground, but the vast majority fall unnoticed in uninhabited areas. In the present case, however, the meteor has fallen in an inhabited area. Geoscientists would make a detailed study of this meteorite soon, he added.

Amitabh, project coordinator at Shri Krishna Science Centre, Patna told TOI on Tuesday that there was only a 6 to 7% chance of a meteor reaching the surface of the earth, while in 90% cases, only ashes were recovered.

“When a meteor enters the earth’s orbit, it turns into ball of fire due to friction, and it burns until there is nothing left. It is likely that the meteor which was found in Madhubani was huge maybe around 600 kg that got reduced to around 10kg.” Talking about its significance, Amitabh said, “It is presumed that meteors were formed at the birth of the universe. Through micro-analysis of meteors, scientists can get some information regarding solar system and universe. When the meteors (if iron made) came in contact with earth orbit, it also channels the magnetic power of the earth.”

B K Mishra & Faryal Rumi
The Times of India
Headline Image:
© STR/AFP/Getty Images

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Planet Earth

A previously unknown species of winged dinosaur very similar to a dragon discovered in China

Artistic representation of how the Wulong bohaiensis could have been. Credit: Erick Toussaint / San Diego Natural History Museum

A new species of dinosaur, a relative of Velociraptor, has shown scientists a little more about the origins of similarities and differences between the feathers of dinosaurs and birds.

The fossil belongs to a fierce dinosaur from the Cretaceous period called the “dancing dragon” who lived 120 million years ago in what is now China.

‘Dancing dragon’

Fossil of the Wulong bohaiensis. Credit: Erick Toussaint / San Diego Natural History Museum

Called Wulong Bohaiensis, It was a two-legged carnivore, a little bigger than a raven, that resided in an environment next to lakes. He had a scaly face, a mouth full of pointed teeth, a particularly dangerous toenail, and probably hunted small mammals, lizards, birds and fish.

He was gound in the Chinese province of Rehe, in northeastern China and his name translates as ‘dancing dragon’, as it refers to the articulated position in which his skeleton is.

Conserved in its entirety, the skeleton included soft tissues such as feathers, which appear together on its arms and legs, very similar to those of birds now. In addition to its four long limbs and two long feathers at the end of the tail, his body was covered by spongy filaments.

At the end of its long bone tail, fused in a rigid rod, there were 2 very long feathers.

«The Wulong specimen is a magnificent fossil. With the feathers and claws, I think it would have been beautiful and a little scary. I would love to see one alive, ”said leading research paleontologist Ashley Poust of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Plumage differences between birds and feathered dinosaurs

A thorough examination of the bones showed that this Wulong individual was approximately one year old, that is, he was a young male still growing.

A new species of feathered dinosaur in China

This characteristic puzzled the experts, since usually the feathers appear in the adult stage. “Either the young dinosaurs needed these tail feathers for some function we don’t know, or they were cultivating their feathers very differently than most current birds”, Poust explained

Birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs approximately 150 million years ago. But there were many feathered dinosaurs that didn’t fly, like Wulong.

Young Wulong seemed to have the plumage of an adult.

«It has long and isolated feathers that extend from its long tail. This is quite different from live birds and tells us that these decorative feathers preceded adulthood in dinosaurs. Of course, they may be using these feathers in a very different way from live birds too, ”said the expert.

Paleontologists are eager to understand many more plumage differences between birds and these feathered dinosaurs.

The finding was described in the scientific journal. The Anatomical Record.

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Australia Firefighters Save the Only Wild Prehistoric Wollemi Pines on Earth

Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch
Waking Times

It looks as if firefighters in Australia have succeeded in saving a secret grove of prehistoric trees belonging to a species that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs.

The Wollemi pines once grew widely across Australia from more than 100 to 60 million years ago, The Washington Post reported. But now less than 200 remain in the wild, in a national park 125 miles northwest of Sydney.

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Planet Earth

“Huge anomalies” at the edge of the earth’s core

At the edge of the Earth’s core lie two gigantic blobs of ultrahot rock — and that’s about the extent to which geologists agree about them.

NASA PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY. DISTRIBUTED ACTIVE ARCHIVE CENTER

The mysterious blobs are on opposite sides of the planet, one hidden beneath Africa, the other in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – the Quanta Magazine compared the ‘massive anomalies’ to Princess Leia’s iconic hairstyle (Star Wars).

Scientists discovered the blobs decades ago by mapping the interior of the planet, but have not learned much since.

Some ideas

There are two main schools of thought regarding the blobs, according to Quanta. The first camp holds that they’re merely massive clusters of hot plumes.

The other argues that the blobs — so big that they would drown the planet’s surface in a lava ocean over 60 miles deep — are their own distinct entity and not just a particularly warm region of the core.

Recent evidence supports the second camp: Quanta reports that scientists found traces of unique, ancient rocks and isotopes in magma that’s flowed upward from the blobs — materials nearly as old as the Earth itself and not found elsewhere on the planet.

Persistent Mystery

Still, great mystery still surrounds the deeply-buried hotspots. One theory is that they could be fragments of a Mars-sized object that crashed into the Earth.

University of Maryland seismologist Vedran Lekić told Quanta

It would be like having an object in the sky, and asking, ‘Is that the moon?’ And people are like, no. ‘Is that the sun?’ No. ‘What is it?’ We don’t know.

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