A rather unusual lot was put up on eBay on September 30. It was a little rock only nine centimeters long and six centimeters high. It weighed a bit less than one kilogram. The owner sells the rock for “only” 2.400,000 US dollars. The description of the lot says that it was the only fragment of the meteorite that fell down in Russia’s Siberia in 1908 – a piece of Tunguska meteorite that is. You can see the lot here.
The lot belongs to a US-based person under the moniker karensresources. The person enjoys quite a respectable reputation on the eBay rating. The person has been selling ultra rare works of art, car accessories and old magazines on the internet auction since 2005.
“I am only an agent, the owner of the lot wishes to remain anonymous. The original owner obtained the piece of the meteorite in 1976, when a Soviet scientific expedition visited the Tunguska area. Specialists of the geo-chemical laboratory of the Kentucky University and scientists of the company Antec studied the rock eight years later. The lot comes complete with copies of original documents confirming its extraterrestrial origin,” karensresources says.
The owner of the rock originally intended to sell it in 1998 for $3.1 million, but the auction did not take place.
Tunguska meteorite still remains a great mystery for the scientific world. Documented evidence says that several families of native residents saw a giant ball of fire flying across the sky at about 7:00 a.m. on June 30, 1908. The ball exploded somewhere on the uninhabited territory. The blast wave circled the Earth twice and was registered by quake-detection stations all over the world. The explosion triggered a strong magnetic storm that continued for four hours. The next night was marked with an unusual phenomenon that could be observed in Russia and Western Europe: people could see luminous clouds. Nothing else is known about the mysterious impact.
The first scientific mission visited the Tunguska crash site in 1911; the last group of scientists returned from the area at the end of August 2007. No one has every succeeded in finding even one piece of the so-called Tunguska meteorite.
It is generally believed that the Tunguska blast was caused by an ice comet which exploded about five or ten kilometers above Earth. The ice immediately melted and evaporated and therefore left no traces on the surface of the planet.
It goes without saying that the fragment of the mysterious Tunguska meteorite available online has raised a certain amount of interest. The owner of the lot claims that the authenticity of the stone has been scientifically confirmed. It was quite possible to hide the finding and take it out of Russia. Foreign specialists were allowed to the crash site in the beginning of the perestroika period in the USSR. “Japanese scientists visited the area in 1989. They arrived as a group of ufologists thinking that it was not a meteorite, but an extraterrestrial spaceship that crashed in Siberia. Geochemists from the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy came to explore the mysterious land in the beginning of the 1990s. However, foreigners could not take a fragment of the meteorite from Russia in 1976, even if the fragment exists indeed,” a member of one of the numerous Tunguska expeditions, scientist Andrey Olkhovatov said. “It could be possible that a piece of the extraterrestrial object was found in Siberia, the Tunguska area. However, it is impossible to prove that it fell down on Earth in 1908. Most likely, it is a piece of another meteorite, and the legendary Tunguska mystery was used for the sake of the extraordinarily high price,” the specialist said.
A meteorite is a precious acquisition for both scientific laboratories and private collectors. Scientists buy them to learn more about the solar system. Common people do it for the sake of a hobby. The price of a meteorite may reach up to 7,000 dollars per gram depending on the structure and the size of the space body.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov