Divers have lifted from a Ural Mountain lake five rocks thought to be fragments of the meteorite that exploded in February near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, a local environment ministry said Thursday.
The fragments, ranging from 10 to 30 centimeters in diameter, will now be handed over to scientists for a thorough examination, the Chelyabinsk Region’s Radiation and Environmental Safety Ministry said in an online statement.
The entire meteorite is estimated to have weighed 10,000 metric tons. Divers have been working to fish out a huge chunk – thought to weigh several hundred kilograms – buried under a 2.5-meter (eight-foot) layer of silt at the bottom of Lake Chebarkul.
Currently, silt is being pumped out of the lakebed to free that piece and possibly find others. The environment ministry’s head, Alexander Galichin, has said he believes that the large chunk will be recovered by October 4.
The meteorite exploded on February 15, leaving about 1,500 people injured, mostly due to glass shattered by the shockwave. Scientists have said the space rock was a typical chondrite, a stony, non-metallic meteorite.