Chicago museum displays fragments of meteor that exploded over Russia

April 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM
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CHICAGO, April 11 (UPI) -- Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History says it has obtained 234 pieces of the meteorite that slammed into Russia's Urals region in February.

The donation of the fragments comes from Terry Boudreaux, a philanthropist specializing in meteorites who sent a team to Russia the day after the huge meteorite exploded over the Urals city of Chelyabinsk to buy pieces gathered by locals, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

"The local villagers actually went out in three feet of snow on their snow skis and looked for holes in the snow. They would dig down with plastic shovels and find these little pieces and throw them in their pockets," Boudreaux told

The Field Museum, which put around 2.2 pounds of Chelyabinsk fragments on display Wednesday, has a meteorite collection of some 6,500 fragments.

"I expected we would get a piece like this," said Field Museum scientist and assistant curator of meteorite studies Philipp Heck. "But we got more than a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of pieces there laid out on the table there."

The Chelyabinsk meteorite caused a massive sonic boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city, injuring 1,500 people in the area.

"This event was probably a once in a 100 year event and made people realize how vulnerable we are to meteorite impacts," the Field Museum said in a statement.

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