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Half-ton meteorite chunk recovered from Russian lake

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It's the biggest piece of a meteor that exploded over Russia in February thus far

Meteorite chunk
Meteorite chunk

Earlier this year, a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere and exploded some 10,000 meters over Russia — the shower of "meteorite rain" injured more than 1,000 people and was captured in a number of stunning first-person cell phone videos. Now, divers have recovered a massive chunk of the meteor — the largest such piece of space debris ever recovered. According to the BBC, the 5-foot meteorite crashed through the frozen surface of Lake Chebarkul in central Russia back on February 15th, leaving a 6-meter-wide hole in the ice. It stayed there until a team of divers were able to recover it; it's just the latest in an ongoing series of meteorite pieces recovered from the lake, but it's by far the biggest.

Unfortunately, the meteorite broke apart into three pieces as it was being lifted from the lake — and the massive rock also broke the scale that scientists used to weigh it, hitting 1,255 pounds before it failed. But there's no doubt of its origins, says Caroline Smith, PhD, curator of meteorites at London's Natural History Museum. The black "fusion crust" layer (created as the meteor heats up while passing through the atmosphere) marks it as such, she said. Sergey Zamozdra, associate professor at Chelyabinsk State University, agrees, reportedly saying that the preliminary investigation "shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite."