Researchers Unearth One of the Biggest Meteorites Ever Discovered In Antarctica

It wasn't the only meteorite they found on the trip

Meteorite in Antarctica
The meteorite in question, all 17 pounds of it.
Courtesy of Maria Valdes

What mysteries can be found beneath the frozen surface of Antarctica? No, this isn’t a nostalgic look back at John Carpenter’s The Thing or a riff on H.P. Lovecraft’s In the Mountains of Madness. Instead, it’s a nod to what a group of scientists recently discovered on the planet’s southernmost continent: a meteorite weighing in at 17 pounds.

That might not look all that heavy at first, but by the standards of meteorites that have been recovered from Antarctica, it’s definitely on the larger side. As Robert Lea noted in an article for, around 45,000 meteorites have been discovered on the continent in question. Far fewer weigh as much as this one — closer to 100, in fact.

Scientist Maria Valdez of the Field Museum and the University of Chicago said that “even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly scientifically valuable” in a statement — but also called the experience of finding this one “really exciting.”

This was one of five meteorites discovered by a four-person team that went to the continent using a mapping technique from the Université Libre de Bruxelles’s Veronica Tollenaar. The next steps include the participating research institutions exploring soil samples and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences examining the meteorites more closely. Who knows what they might find?

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