Russian Meteorite Fragments Seized From Local Man Trying to Sell Online

First Posted: Feb 22, 2013 03:27 AM EST

An unidentified substance has been seized from a local man by the police in Chelyabinsk region. The man was trying to sell the object as a 'meteorite fragment', reports news agency RIA Novosti.

Talking about the seizure, spokeswoman Anzhelika Chirkova said that the police identified the person as a 29-year-old resident of Chelyabinsk region. He was trying to sell about 60 grams of a substance via the Internet as a meteorite fragment. The substance that the police seized was sent for lab testing in order to determine its composition and whether it could pose any health risk.

Chirkova police representative said that they were sending across their message to people informing them not to purchase any meteorite fragments that are being sold, as they are being sold without permits or certification. People have been selling the fragments online for 10,000 to 500,000 rubles. Two laboratories, one in Moscow and one in Ural, are the only two labs that have the authority to issue meteorite certificates, reports RIA Novosti news agency.

The concept of discovering the meteorite fragments was initiated after the last weekend, when some scientists claimed they discovered fragments of the meteorite near the frozen lake Chebarkul. The chunk of meteor left a 20 foot wide hole in the frozen lake and scientists believe that it landed in the lake. Divers, however, could not trace anything at the bottom. But they recovered 53 small fragments from the lake that are less than 0.5 inches in size. They also claimed that the chunk that was recovered consisted of 10 percent iron.

Bright objects streaked across the sky Feb. 15 in central Russia and Urals regions, lighting up the blue sky, smashing windows and causing injury. The fragments have caused widespread damage and have injured 1,000 people. The plunging meteor exploded with a flash, hitting six towns and affecting the entire population.

The Russian Space Debris Hunters have posted ads on websites stating they would offer 300,000 rubles for an authentic piece of the latest space rock to hit the planet, reports Economic Times.

NASA estimates that the meteor, which was is 50 feet in diameter, travelled faster than the speed of sound and its mass increased from 7,000 to 10,000 before plunging into the Earth's atmosphere.

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