Meteorite rock crashes through family's roof

Anne Margrethe Thomassen looks at what is thought to be a meteorite that split in two after hitting the roof of her cottage in central Oslo on March 12, 2012. The meteorite was discovered on March 1
Anne Margrethe Thomassen looks at what is thought to be a meteorite that split in two after hitting the roof of her cottage in central Oslo on March 12, 2012. The meteorite was discovered on March 1

A Norwegian family was flabbergasted to find that what appeared to be a piece of a meteorite had crashed through the roof of their allotment garden hut in the middle of Oslo.

The rock weighing 585 grams, which split in two, probably detached from a meteorite observed over Norway on March 1, experts said, and had landed on the empty hut in the Thomassen family's allotment in a working-class neighbourhood of the Norwegian capital.

Astrophysicist Knut Joergen Roed Oedegaard and his wife Anne Mette Sannes, a meteorite enthusiast, identified the object as a breccia, or a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock.

"It is a sensation in more than one way. On one hand because it is rare that a piece of meteorite goes through a roof and on the other hand because it is a breccia, which is even harder to find," Sannes said.

She said the owners of the meteorite pieces wanted to keep them in Norway, maybe in a museum.

Meteorites speed through space and generally break up as they enter our atmosphere, but it is extremely rare for the debris to fall on inhabited areas, according to Serge Koutchmy, a researcher at the Paris Astrophysical Institute.

"This family is very lucky," Koutchmy said.

"First off because the piece of meteorite did not cause much damage, but also because it is worth a small fortune," he said.

A meteorite from Mars, for instance, can fetch about 5000 kroner ($850) per gram, according to geophysicist Hans Amundsen quoted on the website of the Verdens Gang newspaper, adding though that it remained unclear where the meteorite pieces that landed in Oslo came from and how rare they were.

- AFP

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