Residents of Nicaragua’s crowded capital Managua reported hearing a loud boom and felt the impact of an expansive wave. Nicaraguan government said Monday that it was caused by a small meteorite that landed near the international airport. Fortunately, nobody was harmed in the city of more than 1.2 million people. However, the meteorite did create a 16 feet deep crater that measured 39 feet in radius.
Nicaragua calls in international experts to study the meteorite
Government spokesperson Rosario Murillo said the meteorite was likely to have broken off the 2014RC asteroid, which passed very close to our planet around the same time. The government has called in international experts to investigate further. Humberto Saballos, a volcanologist at the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies, said it wasn’t clear whether the meteorite had been buried or disintegrated on hitting the ground.
Wilfried Strauch, a scientist at the Nicaraguan Institute of Earth Studies (Ineter) said he was confident the impact was caused by a meteorite. Researchers are yet to determine the composition of the meteorite. Locals said the huge blast right before the midnight (local time) was followed by a burning smell. Ineter researcher Jose Millan said people were fortunate that it fell in an area where it didn’t pose any danger to the city population.
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Evidence suggests the impact was caused by a meteorite
Millan said all the evidence at the site corresponds with a meteorite rather than any other type of object. It produced a cone at the site, and the seismic register also coincides with the timing of the impact. The 2014RC asteroid was size of a house. It came closest to the earth at 14:18 ET on Sunday. At its closest point, the asteroid was at a distance of just 25,000 miles over New Zealand.
NASA first discovered the 2014RC, which is the size of a house, on August 31. It is expected to come near earth again in the future. Last year, a meteorite hit Chelyabinsk in Siberia, injuring more than 1,000 people. NASA is currently monitoring more than 11,000 asteroids.