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Scientists stunned by Oslo meteorite find
Meteorite hunters Anne Mette Sannes and Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard study the rock (Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix)

Scientists stunned by Oslo meteorite find

Published: 12 Mar 2012 12:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2012 16:30 GMT+01:00

Space watchers in Norway expressed major excitement on Monday after a meteorite ripped through the roof of a hut in an Oslo allotment garden.

“We were there yesterday and first saw the hole in the roof. Then we saw the stone lying five or six metres away,” the cabin’s owner, Rune Thomassen, told newspaper VG.

He was unable to say when the snowball-sized rock had fallen to earth since the cabin had been unused for some time.

The discovery of the 585-gram meteorite has already awakened interest in the scientific community.

Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard was initially cautious, but his uncertainty gave way to jubilation on seeing the rock with his own eyes on Monday morning.

"This is an absolutely incredible find. I almost can't believe it. It's unique. It's doubly unique," he told VG.

Ødegaard said the rock most likely originated from a meteor spotted over Norway by numerous observers, including himself and his wife, Anne Mette Sannes, on March 1st.

"We've had hundreds of tips and have been searching for fragments all over the country and then we find it here in Oslo! You can tell immediately that it's genuine from the burned crust, and you can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is. It gives me goosebumps," he said.

His enthusiasm was shared by geophysicist Hans Amundsen, a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. 

“This is a very rare meteorite because you can see from the cut of it that it contains fragments from many different kinds of rock that have cemented together, forming a so-called breccia,” said

Breccia is formed by a meteorite colliding with different rock types on another planet before a new collision sends the pieces flying into space, Amundsen said.

“This find will attract attention from all over the world,” he told VG.

Norway has registered just 14 meteorite finds since 1848, the last one coming six years ago in Moss in the south-east of the country.

See also: Fireball strikes land in southern Norway

Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix

NTB/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

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