“Meteorite hunter” finds 14 kg of meteorite-like substance in Iran desert

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“Meteorite hunter” finds 14 kg of meteorite-like substance in Iran desert

Expedition team with the flag of UrFU Institute of Physics and Technology

Russian Federation – In January 2017 a team of four UrFU researchers spent 10 days in the Lut desert in Iran on a meteorite expedition. Every day the expedition would cover 50-100 kilometres. They managed to find 12-14 kilograms of samples, which have characteristics similar to meteorites.

According to the head of the expedition, part of the samples was left in UrFU’s partner university in Iran – Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman – for further studies. The part which was brought to Ekaterinburg is being studied in the university’s Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies research centre.

The team conducted visual studies and checked the magnetic properties of the obtained fragments having found out that 90% of the findings are meteorites. The largest found meteorite weighes 10 kilograms, though it is divided in several fragments. The biggest meteorite brought to UrFU weights 2 kilograms.

The substance discovered is thought to date back up to 4.5 billion years ago; still further tests and examination are needed to confirm this hypothesis. Professor Grokhovsky commented: “In order to determine the age of the found fragments, the scientist should consider when a fragment was formed in space, when it split from its parent body and how much time has it spent on Earth.”

The expedition to the Lut desert in Iran was not the first experience of this kind. In 2015 UrFU researchers organised a meteorite expedition to Antarctica, which brought to the university the status of the Center for Meteoritic Matter Research.