Carancas, H4-5

The Carancas meteorite violently exploded when it made landfall just south of Lake Titicaca on September 15, 2007.  It is one of three historically witnessed crater-forming events along with Sikhote-Alin and Sterlitamak; of the three, Carancas is the only stony meteorite.  It is also the only known impact associated with a documented animal fatality; a goat and llama were reportedly found dead near the crater.

I obtained the following photographs from a public German forum; based on the content of some of the photos, I believe they were taken by T. Kenkmann, N. A. Artemieva, K Wunnemann, M. H. Poelchau, D. Elbeshausen, and/or H. Nunez del Prado [the authors of the paper mentioned below].  If anyone has a copyright issue with my using them, just let me know.

_Carancas_Krater_Peru Carancas_Krater_Hochebene Carancas_Krater_Luftbild Carancas_Krater_Seite Carancas_Krater_vermessung

From MAPS Vol. 44, No. 7.  (I’d consider getting a subscription if you don’t already have one — a lot of the papers are very technical, but there’s always accessible information: see below.)



As a studying geologist, I would like to point out that the above paper is awesome.  It’s worth trying to get the back issue of MAPS if you’re interested in such things.

A little more information was available in the meteoritical bulletin:

writeupI don’t know what the total weight of the recovered fragments is, but, according to a variety of sources, it’s somewhere between five and ten kilograms.  To my knowledge, the biggest single piece still intact is the one pictured below.  At least one slightly larger fragment was found, but it supposedly crumbled to pieces in a dealer’s possession.  The majority of the material piced up around the crater was recovered with magnets in the form of tiny fragments and dust.

It weighs 345 grams — three grams more than the listed total known weight!

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…And here’s a photo of the crater as of late 2014.  Sadly, it is being allowed to decay and will probably disappear within a few years.  Maybe someone will be allowed to dig the bulk of the meteorite up sometime soon!

carancas crater 2014