A meteorite hit Nicaragua's capital Managua around 05:00 UTC on Sunday, September 7, and left a 12-meter wide crater in a wooded area near the city's airport. The meteorite impact was accompanied by a loud boom and a burning smell. There are no reports of injuries.
The crater has a radius of 12 meters (39 feet) and a depth of 5 meters (16 feet), according to Humberto Saballos, a volcanologist with the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies.
Authorities said they are pretty sure it was a piece of the 20-meter wide asteroid 2014 RC which flew by Earth on September 7th at a distance of about 40 000 km. The closest approach of asteroid 2014 RC to our planet was around 18:18 UTC over New Zealand.
Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said a committee formed by the government to study the event confirmed it was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth."(BBC)
She added Nicaragua will ask international experts to help local scientists in understanding what happened.
Residents reported a loud boom but none of them reported seeing a streak of light.
Ron Baalke, a software engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted an update to the close pass by asteroid 2014 RC on the NASA’s Near Earth Object website, saying, “Since the explosion in Nicaragua occurred a full 13 hours before the close passage of asteroid 2014 RC, these two events are unrelated... No eyewitness accounts or imagery have come to light of the fireball flash or debris trail that is typically associated with a meteor of the size required to produce such a crater.” (UniverseToday)
Maps shows approximate location of the impact crater.
Featured image: Crater left by meteorite that hit Nicaragua's capital Managua on September 6, 2014.