Violent past of 'Novato' meteorite revealed
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.
(Posted on 16-08-2014)