Bhubaneswar, Oct. 23: On the night of September 27, it had fallen off a huge fireball that streaked across the sky in coastal Orissa. Nearly a month after the incident, the 5,700-kg meteorite has become the centre of attraction for people in the city.
The stone — with a dark crust, angular to sub-rounded edges and clots of fish-coloured mineral aggregates on its surface — has been put on display for two days at the local office of the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
The exhibition also showcases other meteorites that fell from the sky that night and were collected from Purba Suniti and Paschima Suniti villages under Mahakalpada block, Subarnapur village under Pattamundai block of Kendrapara district and Sudusudia village under Kaptipada block of Mayurbhanj district.
“The black molten crust on the surface of the stone has immense research potential regarding astronomical problems like re-entry mechanism of spacecraft,” said a senior geologist of the GSI.
The meteorite was travelling at a speed of 75 km per hour when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere and then it covered nearly 350 km in the atmosphere before landing, he added.
Geologists of the GSI said preliminary examination of the rocks indicated that they were made of an alloy of nickel-iron and silicate minerals, like olivine and pyroxene, besides iron sulphide. The meteorites will be subjected to more analysis after the exhibition, they added.