Peru meteorite 4.5 billion-years-old

Scientists have dated the meteorite that smashed into southern Peru last September to 4.5 billion-years-old. According to the Geological Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, INGEMMET, the meteorite was formed around the same time as the sun, Earth and other planets in the solar system.

The Institutional Relations and Cooperation director at INGEMMET, Hernán Núñez del Prado, told daily El Comercio, “when Earth was formed, there was a collision of asteroids. The meteorite from Carancas is one of the pieces that came from the collision and was flying around in the solar system until its entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Nuñez del Prado added that most meteorites have this type of origin, although some come from Mars or the moon.

The basketball-sized meteorite crashed near the town of Carancas, in Puno Department, on Sept. 15. It left a 13.5-meter wide crater which was declared a natural and cultural heritage site by Puno’s regional government.

According to Núñez del Prado, the Carancas meteorite is unique because of its accessibility. “Many meteorites fall into the sea or in other areas that are difficult to access.”

Some 500 meteorites hit Earth annually, but only five or six are recovered. Very few meteorites are large enough to make a crater.

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