Huge meteorite pulled from Russian lake

Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, a meteorite contrail is seen over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk. Photo / AP
Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, a meteorite contrail is seen over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk. Photo / AP

Russian divers have pulled from a murky lake in the Urals a half-tonne suspected meteorite said to have been part of a meteor whose ground-shaking shockwave hurt 1200 people in February.

The dramatic recovery operation has come eight months after a piercing streak of light lit up the morning sky in the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk in scenes some locals said made them think of the onset of a nuclear war.

Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, a meteorite contrail is seen over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk. Photo / AP
Feb. 15, 2013 file photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, a meteorite contrail is seen over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk. Photo / AP

The meteor broke up into myriad pieces - some no bigger than the size of a fingernail - that scientists are still finding across the remote region to this day.

Much of the debris landed in a local lake called Chebarkul that the divers entered on Wednesday in an operation covered live on national television.

Broadcasts showed a team pull out a 1.5-metre-long rock from the lake after first wrapping it in a special casing while it was still underwater.

The boulder was then pulled ashore and placed on top of a massive scale for the all-important weighing - an operation that quickly went partially wrong.

The rock crumbled into several chunks as scientists began lifting it from the ground with the help of levers and ropes.

The scale itself broke the moment it hit the 570kg mark.

Experts warn it will take time before scientists can certify that the rock they pulled from the lake did indeed come from outer space.

- AFP

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