Ecuadorian Space Agency rules out meteorite impact in El Empalme, Ecuador

Ecuadorian Space Agency rules out meteorite impact in El Empalme, Ecuador

Although the Government of Ecuador initially confirmed that a meteorite hit the Guayas parish in El Empalme early Wednesday, April 22, 2020, causing panic among residents and power outages, experts from the Ecuadorian Space Agency ruled it out on April 23, saying that the geometry and texture of the object are inconsistent with the effects of atmospheric entry.

According to local media reports, residents of Guayas said the sky lit up over the area around 00:45 LT on April 22, prompting them to check what happened. This is apparently visible at the end of the video below:

After receiving reports about a possible meteorite impact, authorities arrived at the scene and found approximately 60 cm (23 inches) wide and 30 cm (12 inches) deep crater.

Unfortunately, locals moved the object before the police arrived, messing up the investigation. The object was later measured and found to be 20 x 17 cm (7.8 x 6.7 inches).

The radiation around the object measured 0.09 μSv/h, which is normal and does not represent any risk to life, said chemical engineer Hólger Naranjo of the Undersecretary of Control and Nuclear Applications of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources.

After examining images posted by residents and local media, experts from the Ecuadorian Space Agency ruled out meteorite impact, saying that the geometry and texture of the object are inconsistent with the effects of atmospheric entry. They suggested the object is most likely a fulgurite. 

Fulgurites are natural tubes, clumps, or masses of sintered, vitrified, and/or fused soil, sand, rock, organic debris, and other sediments that sometimes form when lightning discharges into the ground. They are classified as a variety of the mineraloid lechatelierite.

When lightning strikes a grounding substrate, upwards of 100 million volts (100 MV) are rapidly discharged into the ground. This charge propagates into and rapidly vaporizes and melts silica-rich quartzose sand, mixed soil, clay, or other sediments. This results in the formation of hollow, branching assemblages of glassy tubes, crusts, and vesicular masses. Fulgurites are homologous to Lichtenberg figures, which are the branching patterns produced on surfaces of insulators during dielectric breakdown by high-voltage discharges, such as lightning.

Featured image credit: La Nacion TV

Comments

wanda goodman 1 month ago

Maybe it's just fulgurite. Occam's razor. Cool fulgurite though.

robert dunn 1 month ago

Our Planet Earth is currently in the Nemesis/Nibiru Debris Field and it's Planets are in our skies - See The Final Days YouTube Channel - Probably a piece of Debris that was circling one of these Planets or Moons that became Gravitationally Dislodged and fell to the Earth? This is why it doesn't show the Characteristic Signs of a Classic Meteorite, like Smoothing from High Heat and also from a High Speed Impact?

Kosiiq (@robert dunn) 29 days ago

I want what you have been smoking. Even if we, for one moment, are in so-called debris field of nibiru, an object will still fall and, if small enough, burn up, or look like any other meteorite. When I was a kid, nibiru was gonna come and destroy us all. I'm still waiting...

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