Russians Recover, Sell Meteorite Fragment from Urals, Largest is 1.8 Kg

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 26, 2013 1:23 PM EST

Residents of the Urals region in Russia who were hit by the meteor shower have been converting the disaster into cash by collecting fragments of the meteorite and selling them.

So far, they have recovered more than 100 fragments, the largest of which weighs 1.8 kilogramme.

Besides the physical fragments, which are sold online, the residents also are offering T-shirts (probably with I Survived the Meteorite Crash designs), guided tours and even cookies that would serve as a memorabilia of the meteorite hit.

Local ski enthusiast found the largest fragment on Monday. Viktor Grokhovsky of the Urals University said the fragment needs to be weighed first and then conserved to prevent acidification.

Reports said the fragment found by Masha Plnkova on Monday evening weighs 1.8 kilogrammes.

Mr Grokhovsky expects more fragments to be found, including the possible largest chunk believed to lie at the bottom of Lake Chebarkul and measuring up to 60 centimetres in diameter. The size is based on a 20-foot-wide hole in the ice covering the lake.

Teams are in the lake area to search for more fragments.

However, there is no assurance that the fragments being sold online really came from the meteor shower. Among the sales pitch that the finders use is that the fragments would bring good luck or help treat depression. Price ranges from a few dollars to $16,000.

Candy makers are also cashing in on the meteor shower by applying to license brand names such as Mystery Meteorite, Urals Meteorite and Chebarkul Meteorite for their candies and cookies.

The meteorite hit on Feb 15 had injured about 1,500 residents, but appears to be a blessing in disguise in the celestial event by converting the fragments and other similar items into cash.

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