By Mark Mathosian
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As a meteorite collector I am always interested in hearing the latest news about meteors and meteorites. Therefore, you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I received a Google e-mail alert on November 18, reporting that two roving physicists stumbled upon a possibly undocumented meteor crater on — of all places — Mount Ararat!
According to the short news report in my inbox, the two researchers found the crater while hiking the area. The crater, which still needs to be verified as being a meteor crater, is located at an altitude of 2,100 meters, at coordinates 39˚ 47’ 30’’N, 44˚ 14’ 40’’E. It is about 70 meters across, well-preserved and previously unrecorded.
The two physicists, Vahe Gurzadyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia and Sverre Aarseth from the University of Cambridge in the UK, are publishing an account of their discovery. They hope that by doing so their report will attract interest in the site and the crater can be properly classified.
Today there is a huge market for meteorites because they are rare and collectible. Many meteorites are named according to the area or region where they are found. If this crater does prove to be from a meteor then perhaps meteorites will be found around its rim and they will be called Mount Ararat Meteorites. Wouldn’t that be nice! For now, we will just have to wait and see.
Because collecting meteorites is fun and educational I thought I would give readers a little insight into what meteorites are all about.
Meteorites are pieces of other bodies in our solar system that make it to the ground when a meteor or “shooting star” flashes through our atmosphere at speeds of roughly 32,000 to 150,000 miles per hour. The majority of meteorites that hit earth came from asteroids shattered by impact with other asteroids. They also come from the moon, comets and from Mars.