Peruvian crater caused by meteor

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Peruvian scientists confirmed on September 20 that the crater found Saturday in the Puno region, of Peru by local villagers and blamed for a mass illness affecting 200 people was likely caused by a meteorite.

Jose Ishitsuka, of Peru's Geophysics Institute, found a three-inch magnetic fragment that contained iron, which is common in all rocks from space. The impact also registered a magnitude 1.5 earthquake, equivalent to 4.9 tons of dynamite exploding.

Jay Melosh, an expert on impact craters and professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona, was initially skeptical that the crater was caused by a meteorite, but recently said, "It begins to sound more likely to me that this object could indeed be a meteorite."

The crater made by the meteorite measured 15 feet deep and 65 feet wide.