‘Meteorite’ smashes into Nicaraguan capital


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MANAGUA, Nicaragua – A mysterious explosion that rocked Nicaragua’s crowded capital Managua, creating a large crater, appears to have been caused by a meteorite, officials said Sunday. Amazingly, in a sprawling city of 1.2 million people, the impact near the international airport did not cause any known injuries, but it did leave a crater measuring 12 meters (39 feet) across. “We are convinced that this was a meteorite. We have seen the crater from the impact,” said Wilfredo Strauss of the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies. The meteorite appeared to have hurtled into a wooded area near the airport around midnight Saturday, its thunderous impact felt across the capital. The hit was so large that it registered on the instruments Strauss’ organization uses to size up earthquakes.

“You can see two waves: first, a small seismic wave when the meteorite hit Earth, and then another stronger one, which is the impact of the sound,” he said. Government officials and experts visited the impact site on Sunday. One of them, William Martínez, said it was not yet clear if the meteorite burned up completely or if it had been blasted into the soil. “You can see mirror-like spots on the sides of the crater from where the meteorite power-scraped the walls,” Martínez said.

Government spokeswoman, First Lady Rosario Murillo, said Managua would be in contact with the U.S. Geological Service to try to get more information about “this fascinating event” in the Central American nation, one of Latin America’s poorest countries. People who live near the crater told local media they heard a blast they took for an explosion, and that liquid, sand and dust were blown through the air, which smelled like something had burned. There were no reported injuries because the impact was in a wooded spot, and flights at the airport were not affected.

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Felt as an Earthquake

Felt as an Earthquake

Roughly, the diameter is 40 times the diameter of the meteorite, 12 meters/40 = 30 cm. So that would seem to come out at the weight of a large cannonball, which I guess would be 34 kg (Volume = 4/3 radius^3), density of steel = 7700kg per cubic meter = 7.7kg per square meter