Antarctica is perfect for meteorite hunting because, in contrast to the white, snowy scenery, the dark rocks stand out, and the dry climate helps to maintain them. Additionally, even after meteorites have descended beneath the ice, the motion of the glaciers against the rock below aids in re-exposing them.
For those looking for meteorites, Antarctica is a paradise.
A group of scientists went meteorite hunting in Antarctica and came across a precious find: a large meteorite weighing 16.7 pounds, roughly around 7.6 kg. So, if you decide to go treasure hunting next time, visit Antarctica.
Picture Credit: Courtesy of Maria Valdes
Finding meteorites is tough, and it’s equally challenging to distinguish a meteorite from ordinary rocks specially in Antarctica.
They can often be found in sizes between a pebble and a fist. Although finding a large meteorite like this one is rare and thrilling, Valdes emphasizes that only around 100 of the 45,000 meteorites discovered in Antarctica over the past century were the size of the 17-pounder or larger.
The explorers had to face harsh circumstances; they trekked across ice and rode snowmobiles for days before retiring to tents for the night. Even though the team arrived in Antarctica in December, when it was summer there, which gave them 24 hours of daylight, they still had to endure chilly weather and protracted treks and rides on snowmobiles.
🔎Check out the #news section of our website to follow the #journey of our #scientists at the Princess Elisabeth #Antarctica research station!🤩— Int.Polar Foundation (@PolarFoundation) December 8, 2022
👉You can read the first #news (of an upcoming series) at: https://t.co/JNfLfZEDSP pic.twitter.com/gkFQ7dSuMn
This meteorite-hunting crew was the first to use satellite pictures as a treasure map to locate possible new space rock spots. Satellite observations of surface variables like temperature, slope, velocity, and ice thickness were used. Additionally, the data was fed into a machine learning algorithm to determine the locations with the best chances of discovering meteorite accumulation zones.
The meteorites retrieved by the team would be examined by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and the sediment that may have contained minute micrometeorites was distributed among the researchers for investigation at their respective universities. According to Valdes, the more meteorites we have, the greater our understanding of both our solar system and ourselves will be.