3 March 2014

Pieces of the beginning, via Chelyabinsk

Posted by Callan Bentley

A week ago today, I was in Tempe, Arizona, at Arizona State University, for a workshop on broadening participation (increasing diversity) in the geosciences. One of the neat things about ASU as a setting for this meeting is their enormous meteorite collection. I was particularly taken with the display of material from the extraordinary Chelyabinsk meteor detonation that occurred last year.

ASU has pieces of glass from windows that were shattered by the shock wave…


…as well as fragments of the meteorite itself:


Pretty awesome. Meteorite impacts are far less common today than they were early in the history of our solar system. When they do occur, they can delight, amaze, awe, and potentially even kill. A big enough one could wipe out a huge number of people. Chelyabinsk was a close one: people were hurt, but no one died. These fragments of (a) the early solar system and (b) human architecture are tangible physical reminders we would do well to heed.