A small meteorite blasted out a large crater when it crashed into the Nicaragua’s capital
Termed as a “relatively small” incident by Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, the meteriote that night near Managua’s International Airport and the country’s air force base, nevertheless left a crater that is 5 metres deep and has a radius of 12 metres.
Murillo, who is also the wife of President Daniel Ortega, said Managua would be in contact with the US Geological Service to try to get more information about “this fascinating event” in the Central American nation, one of Latin America’s poorest countries.
“[The meteor] appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth,” Murillo told the Associated Press of the impact that occurred around 11 p.m. on Saturday night.
Small compared to meteor disaster movie scenarios, but huge when considering the potentially disastrous effects had it landed in a densely populated area.
Some are speculating that the meteor might have been a part of the 2014 RC asteroid scheduled to narrowly miss the Earth on Sunday.
However, despite Murillo’s comments, there have been no official confirmations of any connection between the Nicaragua incident and asteroid 2014 RC.
The government reported no human or material damages, because the meteorite hit an uninhabited area. The expert from the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INET), Wilfredo Strauss said: “We believe it was a meteorite, we saw the impact crater.”
Once the news broke, the government formed a delegation to investigate this incident, confirming the impact 300 metres south of the Bridge Hotel Camino Real, in a wooded area bordering the facilities of the Air Force of Nicaragua.
Humberto Garcia, of the Astronomy Centre at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, said “we have to study it more because it could be ice or rock.”
Wilfried Strauch, an adviser to the Institute of Territorial Studies, said it was “very strange that no one reported a streak of light. We have to ask if anyone has a photo or something.”
Local residents reported hearing a loud boom Saturday night, but said they didn’t see anything strange in the sky.
“I was sitting on my porch and I saw nothing, then all of a sudden I heard a large blast. We thought it was a bomb because we felt an expansive wave,” Jorge Santamaria told The Associated Press.
The site of the crater is near Managua’s international airport and an air force base. Only journalists from state media were allowed to visit it.
Nicaragua not only has more than 20 volcanoes but also is regularly rocked by earthquakes, so its seismic sensors were able to detect the impact event this weekend.
“All the evidence that we’ve confirmed on-site corresponds exactly with a meteorite and not with any other type of event,” Reuters quoted Ineter’s Jose Millan as saying. “[W]e have the seismic register which coincides with the time of impact, and the typical characteristic that it produces a cone in the place of impact.”
Sources: Associated Press (AP); Agence France-Presse (AFP); Reuters; Mashable; NASA; Twitter; La Prensa