Chinese scientist said meteorites sold online were fake, with none found
after parts of an asteroid hit Earth near Shangri-La County in southwest
China’s Yunnan Province on Oct. 4, reported the Chinese-language
newspaper Modern Express.
Meteorite hunters from across the world flocked to Shangri-La following
reports of the possible hit, while some online stores lost no time
putting so-called meteorites on sale asking 8,000 to 10,000 yuan ($1,200
to $1,500) per stone and even as much as 20,000 yuan a gram. One store
claimed it offered Martian meteorites.
According to satellite data from NASA, an asteroid entered the
atmosphere about 40 kilometers northwest of Shangri-La, resulting in an
explosion equivalent to 540 tons of TNT, slightly stronger than the
450-ton explosion in the Xilingele event of 2014.
Because the asteroid moved at a speed of 14.6 kilometers per second
relative to Earth and blasted apart at the relatively low altitude of
about 37 kilometers, unburned meteorites and debris could have reached
the ground, the paper said.
But Xu said all scientists have is video footage of two explosions that
occurred during the hit and that it was hard to precisely identify the
trajectory of the asteroid. Chances are slim that any meteorites will
ever be found, Xu said, noting "it is like dredging for a needle in the