Impact in Latvia Creates 20-Meter Crater

A possible meteorite fall near in northern Latvia on Sunday left a crater approximately 20 meters (66 feet) in diameter and 10 meters (33 feet) deep. UPDATE: Many reports now say the impact was a fake; The Bad Astronomer says “shovel” marks were found around the perimeter of the crater; additionally, a burning impactor is highly unlikely (see video below). And here’s an article from the Associated press. , and another from Yahoo news, where a phone company in Latvia admits the “crater” was a publicity stunt.

Our earlier report:
No one was injured, as the impact occurred outside the small town of Mazsalaca, although houses were nearby. Early reports said it was not clear whether it was an asteroid or a space satellite, but later news indicated it was a meteorite strike. Another account said it might be a hoax, as a cover-up of illegal weapons tests. One report said a witness saw the object falling through the sky, leaving a burning trail behind, and said it was making a noise similar to the one of an aircraft flying at a low altitude. See a video of the crater below.

A spokesperson for the Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service said that rescuers and soldiers immediately cordoned off the territory, as they wanted to guard against any radioactive contamination if it was a satellite.

See this link for more images of the crater.

We’ll post more news about the crater as it becomes available.

Sources: RiaNovosti, ITAR-TASS

Hat tip to @cosmos4U on Twitter

20 Replies to “Impact in Latvia Creates 20-Meter Crater”

  1. >> what would burn in a meteorite?

    Fuel of course. Don’t you know that most of the meteorites have fuel and shovel to dig themselves inside craters?

    Land owner at least managed to sell some tickets to those who wanted to see crater 🙂

  2. IF this was a meteorite impact, what was burning? The film did not show fire outside the crater, just in the bottom. I could see the residues from explosives burning, but what would burn in a meteorite?

  3. I caught a look at the video on CNN this morning (along with a healthy amount of scepticism as to its authenticity). Whoever thought this up may have been influenced by common Hollywood portrayals of “fresh” meteorite falls (the burning object in the bottom of an impact crater reminded me of the 1952 version of “War of the Worlds”). This was the first clue that this was probably a hoax. The few known, fresh meteorite samples have been described as warm to the touch, not in flames. The daylight photos of the crater show little evidence of ejecta from the crater. HSBC makes a good point that seismological evidence (as well as infrasonic data) would be of great value in determining the authenticity of the claim. Looks like a lot of work went into this probable hoax. Btw, the mention of this object as possibly being a man made object re-entering Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t address the problems already pointed out (the burning object itself and the lack of ejecta near the “crater”). Might be interesting to see what the chemical composition of the “meteorite” turns out to be.

  4. While I agree that this is probably a hoax, some of the reasoning for this are IMO not correct.

    Small meteorites will be warm to the touch, but the temperature will go up dramatically with size – the source of heat will not be atmospheric heating, but the deformation during impact – this will create a molted blob, or a fragmented molten blob.

    Burning can occur at high temperature. Iron will burn. Carbon will burn. If you have a molten iron core, it will sure have low-level flames around it. For that matter anything that can form an oxide will do so readily at high temperatures, and most of the stuff on the asteroid has never seen Oxygen before.

    All that said – Seismic evidence and actual debris will tell the tale, this is not something that will remain mystery forever (like the moon landings, for example 🙂

  5. btw, adding to the above, the ground looks soggy. This will have dampened the ejecta. Think of the slow-mo films of a droplet hitting a liquid surface, and translate that into viscous mud – that crater is not too far fetched.

    Of course it is also not too far fetched for someone having shoveled it out, or even more likely, blasted it out. One post digger, a couple of sticks of dynamite, one hand-held camera – the video does have the same feel to it as the Michael Jackson is ALIVE video that made the rounds a few weeks ago…

  6. Comment policy: Be nice and brief. Don’t advertise your stuff, or promote your personal theories. We’ll delete any comments that break these policies. Click here for more details

    so;most have broken this rule;and if we cant post our own theories;which this is just a excusse to edit/remove what you dont aggree with.
    and if we cant formulate our own theories then with your openess to science the world is flat and held up by 4 elephants and stars are holes in a black cloth that keeps us nice and cosy.
    So go frack yourselves.this site is on my banned list.

  7. @ yourdictators,

    Nice(!). Don’t let the electron shells hit you in the ass on your way out.

  8. Wow ‘yourdictators’ – way to have a sudden outburst. Please don’t ban us, because I cannot imagine anything worse than UT being on your ‘banned sites list’. I’m sure it would have terrible repercussions for, well, nobody – but it’s a powerful gesture none-the-less.

    First of all, the comment policy was introduced for good reason. Freedom of speech is not equivalent to an anarchistic free-for-all, which is what this place was starting to degenerate into prior to the comment policy.

    Secondly – the policy is quite relaxed. You can propose theories or explanations here, just not constantly argue for or drone on about theories that a reasonable person who is literate in science would class as ‘against the mainstream’. You cannot hope to argue effectively for a scientific theorem in 200 word increments on a blog comment page. This is not the place for that – head over to the section of BAUT forums that is specially dedicated to it if you feel so inclined. Be prepared to defend your point of view, because people WILL try to tear it to shreds.

    Anyway – seeing as I’ve never seen even one comment from you in my life, and considering the fact that you don’t seem to familiar with the fact that the comment policy hasn’t ever really been actually enforced, even once to my memory, it would seem that the sole purpose of your post is to stir the pot and have a go. Whatever the case, I think I can safely tell you to bugger off – you’re not wanted here. How’s that for nice? See – relaxed comment policy.

    P.S – it should be you’redictators, not ‘yourdictators’, if you are wanting to call us dictators.

  9. yeah;im back! lol…only to see what replies were made….
    lets take this in reverse order as i see thats the way your inclined(with your Buggeroff,comment)
    1 “yourdictators” was directed at the website policy makers,not the bloggers on it.
    2 my purpose for the post was to troll against
    the policy,which if is as you say not to stop small articulated theories,then it needs to be worded as such.
    3 Ive never seen this site before,but i had to register to post that comment in the defence of freedom of speach and thaught.if you dont defend such things youll wake up 1 day,or your children will and there will be No freedoms & rights.
    4 being on my banned list was a referal to “ME” never visiting this site again,but from all your missunderstandings and from my deduction in your written words;you either run this website or you have delusions of being its grand master.

    Anyway ill go frag off now! STRAIGHT away.

  10. p.s. on the subject matter of the “fake asteroid impact site” it only took me 1 M.F. of a string to be aware that it was a fake.

    if youd like to argue the case then i may stick arround if your agrgument good enough,and in light of the information that this site dont block/oppose non conformist theories.
    Ill stick arround;if not only to annoy you.
    lol j/k

  11. I registered so that I might address the comments by “yourdictator” while the thought was in my mind. The problem with any blog format, as I see it, is manifest by this person’s use.

    I like to hear from people who address any given article within the framework of your comment policy. Thank you for keeping the comments on-point.

    Life is too short for sloppy thinking or nonsense postings.

  12. @ “yourdictators”:

    Rather than posting comments to a site you so obviously think is restricting your ‘freedom of speech”, your time might be best spent enrolling in a remedial writing and vocabulary course. We won’t miss you.

  13. Hello Yourdictators,
    I echo the thoughts of Astrofiend in that this website has “Very relaxed” policy.

    Where I have been visiting this site for over a year quite a few times a week, but have never posted a msg before. But I can honestly say, the articles are great, but just as good to read are all the feedback msgs from the regular bloggers.

    Where everybody voices their differing opinions with the majority not going too far overboard, which makes great reading, provides spirited discussions, and everybody gets to have their say, which is great for both knowledge transfer and for producing plently of smiles and laughs

    So I would say the policy is very sensibly, relaxly enforced by the website, where they have created a great balance.

    Basically you shouldn’t just be jumping on Websites/Forums and waffling on about freedom of speech, without first knowing what you are talking about


  14. People, don’t feed the troll. That’s what he’s after: attention. Let him rant all alone in his parents’ basement.

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