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Fragments of Chelyabinsk meteorite to be lifted from Lake Chebarkul

August 02, 2013, 20:02 UTC+3

The operation will be held in muddy waters of the lake in conditions of zero visibility

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CHELYABINSK, August 2 (Itar-Tass) - Fragments of a meteorite that caused panic in Russia’s Urals city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013 will be retrieved from Lake Chebarkul, where it fell down to. Governor of the Chelyabinsk region Mikhail Yurevich has issued relevant instructions to the regional ministry of radiation and ecological security, the press service of the regional government reported.

The operation will be held in muddy waters of the lake in conditions of zero visibility. So, divers will have to use special equipment. The local authorities will engage professional divers from the regional rescue services and from other specialized organizations, Alexander Galich, the regional minister of radiation and ecological security, said, adding that now the local government was deciding about the funding of this operation.

Earlier, Mayor of the town of Chebarkul Andrei Orlov told Itar-Tass that several organizations and individuals had contacted him to offer their services to lift the meteorite from the lake.

Meanwhile, Georgy Grechnko, a renown Russian cosmonaut and Doctor of Sciences in mathematics and physics, said the operation should be conducted in the winter period. “It would be possible to develop ice of any state of sickness and mount all necessary equipment on it,” he said at a conference dedicated to the Chelyabinsk meteorite back in June.

A meteorite fragment is resting deep in silt some 50 meters away from the place where it made a hole in the lake ice while falling, said Sergei Zakharov of the department of geography of the Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University. “It may be complanate in shape,” he noted. “We have established jointly with researchers from the Charles University in Prague that after falling into the lake the meteorite struck against the ice from below and only then sank. It is not ruled out that it might have broken into pieces.”

In February 2013, divers of the Russian emergencies ministry surveyed the area where the meteorite might have fallen and found no traces of the celestial object.

The meteorite showed poured down on the Chelyabinsk region in the morning on February 15, 2013. Eyewitnesses said they had first seen a bright flash in the sky and had heard the sound of explosion. A shock wave that followed the fall of the meteorite broke windows in houses in Chelyabinsk. About 1,200 people sought medical help after the incident. The Chelyabinsk authorities put the damage done by the meteorite at more than one billion roubles.

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