Rare Arctic Asteroid
And other recent science discoveries
On January 18, 2000, an estimated 23-foot- (7-meter-) wide, 250-metric-ton fireball as
bright as the Sun streaked across the skies of western Canada and exploded with an
estimated yield of 5—10 thousand tons of TNT. Scientists were able to pick up the
remnants of the brilliant meteor—the first time freshly fallen meteor pieces were
quickly recovered and brought to a lab untouched, on ice, and never thawed.
Most Pristine Meteorites Known
The Yukon meteor fragments were identified as carbonaceous chondrites, the most
pristine, organically rich meteorites known. Carbonaceous chondrites are rare and
difficult to recover because they are so fragile, easily breaking down during entry into
Earth's atmosphere and during weathering on the ground. They comprise only about 2
percent of all meteorites known to have fallen to Earth.