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Tue, 09 Sep 2014 - Claims of Nicaraguan meteorite fall linked to 2014 RC

Several news stories have reported a meteorite fall producing a 12 metre crater near Managua in Nicaragua and have attempted to link it to the passage, at a distance of 40000 km, of near-Earth asteroid 2014 RC during the evening of Sunday 7th September.

One such report includes a quote from a Nicaraguan government spokeswoman :

No meteorite fragments have been recovered so far. In addition, the meteorite fall actually occurred about 13 hours ahead of the closest approach of the asteroid. However, the time difference would not necessarily be a problem since a fragment that became detached from the asteroid at sometime in the past would have slowly drifted away away from the main asteroid while maintaining a very similar path through space. Observations of the fireball associated with the meteorite fall would allow astronomers to work out the former orbit of the object that impacted the Earth and see if it was very similar to that of 2014 RC.

And that is the problem ... no-one saw a fireball. 

Consequently there is a suspicion that the crater and associated explosion had some other origin. If we leave out the possibility that this was a hoax, then suspicion turns to explosives related to the guerilla activity that lasted for several decades in Nicaragua. Indeed, the crater is not far from an airforce base. One suggestion is that this was a buried cache of explosives and Marco Langbroek has referenced an earlier occurence of such an explosion:

In general, most scientists seem very sceptical regarding the possibility of this crater being due to a meteorite linked to 2014 RC.



Added by: Tracie Heywood