Meteorite is traced back 1,132 years

May 18, 1993|By Asahi News Service

OKAZAKI, Japan -- A meteorite that crashed through the roof of a home in Mihonoseki in December probably was a piece of the same space object as a falling star that landed in Japan more than a thousand years ago, researchers say.

The earlier meteorite descended on Nogata City in western Japan in 861. The second hit Shimane Prefecture, 185 miles away and 1,132 years later.

Masako Shima and Keisuke Nagao of the National Science Museum at Okayama University told a conference in Okazaki City that chemical analysis suggested the Mihonoseki meteorite was 61 million years old, compared to the Nogata meteorite's estimated 60 million years.

The 1 million-year gap in their ages is said to be within the accepted margin of measurement error.

The closeness of the numbers supports the hypothesis that, probably because of some kind of collision, the two meteorites broke off from a common source about the same time and began their journey through space.

Further evidence that the rocks came from the same object is the fact that they contain similar levels of helium 3, neon and argon.

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