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Early enthusiasts of meteorite impact craters tended to search for big samples of such rocks whenever they suspected large cavities on the Earth’s surface were caused by celestial objects. Unknown to them, large samples of meteorites are actually hard to find. The reason is because most meteoroids actually vaporize during impact – after forming the crater, of course.
Apparently, some people are lucky enough to come across a meteorite even without embarking on a quest to find one. They wouldn’t be as lucky though if the meteorite landed on them. Think this is far fetched?
A meteorite actually managed to crash through the roof of a doctor’s office in Lorton, Virginia, USA. That the rock was in fact a meteorite, was confirmed by a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. We’ve provided a link to that story below.
Meteorites aren’t just ordinary pieces of rocks, and it’s not simply because they come from outer space. A lot of information can be gathered from them. For instance, the meteorite found in Antarctica in 1996 (known as the Alan Hills Meteorite) has shown evidences of life on Mars.
In another study, a team from the University of Chicago were able to estimate the time spent by interstellar grains extracted from the Murchison meteorite in interstellar space. The information was based on the concentration of neon, which are typically produced during cosmic-ray irradiation, on the grains.
Results of that study showed that most of the grains only spent 3 million to 200 million years in interstellar space.
Some of the more popular meteorites are Hoba (the largest known meteorite), Alan Hills 84001 (the first to prove the existence of life on Mars), Willamette (the largest found in the US), and Canyon Diablo (responsible for the Meteor Crater, the first proven meteor crater on Earth).
Many of the recovered meteorites were found because they were initially spotted streaking through the sky by witnesses nearby. As such, most meteorites are found near highly populated areas. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a meteorite will avoid rural areas. It’s just that the likelihood of being spotted while still in the sky is lesser.
Without any witness, it may be difficult to determine whether a place may hold a meteorte or not. Or is it? The answer to this question lies in our article entitled Meteorites.
Here are some of the references from Universe Today for the article above.
Of course, you can also find more information at NASA. Hera are some links:
Evidence Of Meteor Impact Found Off Australian Coast
Alternatively, you can also listen to an interesting episode about craters in Astronomy Cast.