A group of scientists in Argentina believe they may have made history Saturday with the discovery of what they say is the second-largest meteorite ever.
Believed to weigh more than 30 tonnes — or 30,800 kilograms — the meteor was christened “Gancedo” in honour of the nearby town.
Mario Vesconi, president of the Astronomy Association of Chaco, said his researchers were surprised by the size of their celestial find.
“While we hoped for weights above what had been registered, we did not expect it to exceed 30 tons,” Vesconi told the Xinhua news agency. “The size and weight surprised us.”
The meteorite was discovered in an area called Campo del Cielo, which scientists believe was struck by a shower of meteorites some 4,000 years ago. The area is well known to scientists for its collection of meteorites.
While the initial findings still need to be verified, the meteorite’s size would officially make it the second-largest celestial body ever found on Earth — surpassing the El Chaco meteorite, discovered in the same region in 1980 which weighed 28,840 kilograms.
“We will weigh it again,” Vesconi said. “Apart from wanting the added confidence of a double-check of the initial readings we took, the fact that its weight is such a surprise, makes us want to re-calibrate.”
Of course, neither rock comes close to surpassing the mammoth Hoba meteorite discovered in Namibia for largest meteorite ever discovered. Tipping the scales at a whopping 66 tonnes, the Hoba is so large it has never been removed from the ground, and also holds the record for largest naturally occurring piece of iron ever found.