Meteorites still fall from the sky with somewhat regularity, and a plummeting meteorite killed a man in India earlier this year. More disturbingly, an undetected massive asteroid narrowly missed Earth in September, passing between the Earth and the Moon. These events and geological structures such as Arizona’s 37-mile wide Meteor Crater inform us that the Earth has been the victim of many violent impacts throughout the planet’s history. Now, a new discovery in a remote region of Argentina shows that large extraterrestrial objects falling to Earth might be more common than we think.
According to Argentine news agency La Nación, a meteorite weighing 30 tons was found outside the small town of Gancedo, 1,085 km north of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. A meteorite weighing in at close to 28 tons was previously found not far from the same location.
The Campo del Cielo, where the meteorite was found, was once a hotbed of meteorite activity. Around four thousand years ago a shower of meteorites fell on this area in northern Argentina, leaving dozens of craters and meteorites scattered across the landscape. Aside from this new meteorite, the world's second largest meteorite was also discovered at this same site.
According to the Mario Vesconi, president of the Astronomy Association of Chaco, the official weight of the meteorite, called the Gancedo Meteorite, was a shock once measured:
While we hoped for weight above what had been registered, we did not expect it to exceed 30 tons, [...] the size and weight surprised us.
The team who excavated the meteorite reported difficulties in removing the space rock from the ground due to groundwater in the crater. Thus, the team would like to re-measure the meteorite’s weight once it has been safely removed and transferred to a more secure location. The largest known meteorite remains the Hoba meteorite found in Namibia in 1920.