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Violent past of `Novato` meteorite revealed

Last Updated: Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 12:34

Washington: A new study has revealed the origin and violent history of the meteorite, now officially named `Novato`, which fell onto the roof of a house in Novato, California, on Oct. 17, 2012.

Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer, said that their investigation has revealed a long history that dates to when the moon formed from the Earth after a giant impact.

Jenniskens captured the meteorite`s fall in NASA`s Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance and quickly calculated the likely fall area over the city of Novato. Often researchers use the location a meteorite was found to name to the rock; this meteorite now has been officially named `Novato` according to the Meteoritical Society.
Qing-zhu Yin, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, said that the meteorite likely got its black appearance from massive impact shocks causing a collisional resetting event 4.472 billion years ago, roughly 64-126 million years after the formation of the solar system.

Researchers also measured when the meteorites` parent body broke into fragments during another massive collision, about 470 million years ago. This created a debris field in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter from which Novato-like meteorites, which are known as `L6 ordinary chondrites,` now are coming to Earth.

When the Novato meteoroid finally hit Earth`s atmosphere, scientists approximate it measured 14 inches (35 centimeters) and weighed 176 pounds (80 kilograms).

The study is published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

First Published: Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 12:34

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