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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Meteorite smashed through Oslo roof

The owners of a small cabin in an urban holiday garden called a kolonihage in Oslo got quite a surprise when they visited the cabin for the first time in a long time over the weekend. First they discovered a hole in the cabin’s roof, and then what looked like a stone nearby. It turned out to be a meteorite.

Only 14 meteorites have been found in Norway since 1848, the last one in Moss, south of Oslo, in 2006. So the one that hit the Thomassen family’s cabin has caught some attention.

“We were there yesterday (Sunday),” Rune Thomassen told VG Nett, after visiting the cabin, also known as a hytte, in the garden in Oslo’s Rodeløkka district. He can’t be sure when the meteorite actually crashed through the cabin’s roof, because the cabin had been closed during the winter.

Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, an astrophysicist at the University of Oslo and Norway’s most enthusiastic promoter of astronomy, thinks the meteorite probably hit during some meteor sightings observed several places around Norway on March 1.

“We took in hundreds of tips and have been searching for bits of meteorites,” Ødegaard told VG after examining the Thomassen’s discovery at their cabin. “And then we find this right here in Oslo!”

Since meteorites travel at speeds of around 360 to 1,000 kilometers an hour, the damage caused to the cabin was not unusual. “This is an incredible discovery, I can hardly believe it,” Ødegaard enthused to VG Nett. “This is unique. This is double-unique.”

For photos of the meteorite, see VG’s coverage here (external link, in Norwegian).

Hans Amundsen, a member of NASA’s astrobiological institute, agreed that the meteorite was “very rare,” also, he told VG Nett, because “you can see in its cross-section that it contains bits of many different particles that are compressed together.” That indicates that another, larger meteorite smashed rock on another planet before the meteorite found in Oslo was propelled into outer space.

Amundsen thinks the meteorite can yield valuable information to researchers, and also private collectors may want to pay highly for it. He said meteorites from Mars have sold for around NOK 5,000 per gram. Norway’s geological museum has the country’s only meteorite collection “and they’re the right ones to determine what kind of meteorite this is,” Amundsen told VG.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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