An excavating team in Argentina just pulled a rock weighing more than 30 tonnes out of the ground. But is it really the world’s second largest intact meteorite?
The rock was pulled on Saturday from Campo del Cielo, a well-known meteorite crash site in Argentina, where iron meteorites abound.
Some reports are describing it as the second largest meteorite ever discovered, and, yep, you only have to look at the footage to see that it’s certainly one big rock. But there are still some questions that need to be answered before we give this boulder Earth’s number two meteorite spot.
First, the rock needs to be confirmed as an actual meteorite which, given the field it was found, is not unlikely. But the team from the Astronomy Association of Chaco who weighed the hunk of rock at 30 tonnes still isn’t sure about the measurement and noted that they want to do a second weigh-in after rebalancing their scale to confirm what they read.
Even if the rock is confirmed as a meteorite and does measure in at over 30 tons though, that still wouldn’t make it the world’s second biggest. The largest meteorite ever found is a 66-tonne beast in Namibia called the Hoba. After that, though, the question of who takes the number two spot starts to get murkier.
There’s another meteorite previously discovered in the same field of a similar size: El Chaco. The Astronomy Association of Chaco says that this new rock is the larger of the two. Previous reports, however, put El Chaco’s size at 37 tonnes, which would give it the number two spot over this new meteorite. For now, though, all we really know is that another really big rock has been plucked from a meteorite field — for everything else, we’ll have to wait.