- BBC World, @bbc_ciencia
Scientists in Nicaragua requested international assistance to analyze the possible relationship of a meteorite that impacted their territory while an asteroid passed by the Earth.
The meteorite fell near the international airport in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, last Saturday night, according to information from the authorities.
The residents of the area heard a loud explosion and felt the blow that left a crater 12m wide and 5m deep.
According to the Nicaraguan government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, everything indicates that the meteorite could have detached from the asteroid 2014RC, which passed close to Earth on Sunday.
Authorities have asked for the help of international experts to investigate the provenance of the space rock.
bang and tremor
The impact occurred in a wooded area near an air force base and the airport, and no damage or injuries have been reported.
Wilfried Strauch, advisor to the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (Ineter), said he was «convinced that it was a meteorite» that caused the impact.
According to those who are analyzing the crater, it is not clear if it disintegrated after the impact or if it was buried in the ground.
Local villagers say they heard a loud crash just before midnight and smelled burning.
«We thought it was a bomb because we felt a shock wave,» Jorge Santamaría told the news agency. The Associated Press.
Link to the asteroid
«We have to celebrate the fact that it fell in an area where, thank God, it does not cause any danger to the population,» said José Millán, another Ineter scientist.
Managua has more than one million inhabitants and is densely populated.
«All the evidence that we confirmed in the place corresponds exactly to a meteorite and not to another type of event,» said Millán.
«We have the seismic record that coincides with the time of impact and the typical characteristics that produce a cone at the crash site,» he added.
The 2014RC’s closest point, which is the size of a house, occurred on Sunday at 18:18 GMT, when it passed over New Zealand at a distance of 40,000km.
NASA had warned about the passage of the rocky object, which did not represent any danger.
The United States space agency (NASA) keeps track of more than 11,000 asteroids whose orbits pass relatively close to our planet.