Friday, October 14, 2016

Argentine police arrest meteorite thieves

Police in Argentina have arrested four men who were trying to steal more than a tonne of meteorites in the northern province of Chaco. Highway police say they found more than 200 large pieces of meteorites hidden under the seats of a truck which they had stopped in a random check. Three Argentines and a Paraguayan were arrested.

The province of Chaco is world famous for meteorites, which are protected under Argentine law.
A 37-ton space rock crashed to Earth as part of a meteor shower between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago, forming a giant 1,300 sq km (500 sq miles) kilometer crater field in northeastern Argentina known as Campo del Cielo, or Field of the Sky.

Named El Chaco after the province it fell into, the meteorite is central to the native Moqoit people.
El Chaco was discovered with a metal detector in 1967. It is the second-biggest meteorite ever found.

In 1990 an Argentine highway police officer foiled a plot to steal it for sale to a private US collector.
Campo del Cielo meteorite is classified in Group I, , 6.68% Ni, 0.43% Co, 0.25% P, 87 ppm Ga, 407 ppm Ge, 3.6 ppm Ir. Almost all of the remaining portion of the meteorite is iron.

"Las VĂ­boras" fragment found in Campo del Cielo

Campo del Cielo meteorite, El Chaco fragment

Campo del Cielo meteorite, El Chaco fragment