October 23, 2021

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Fiery ‘airburst’ of superheated gas slammed into Antarctica 430,000 years ago

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Roughly 430,000 years ago, an incandescent ball of hot gas came barreling out of the sky and slammed into Antarctica — and now, scientists have found tiny bits of debris formed by that impact.

The team scooped up the mineral particles from Walnumfjellet in the Sør Rondane Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, which is located south of Africa on the eastern side of the continent. Antarctica offers the perfect environment to scout for meteorite remnants, due to its dry, frigid climate and minimal human presence, first author Matthias van Ginneken, a geoscientist who specializes in the study of micrometeorites, or extremely tiny meteorites the size of dust particles, told Live Science.

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