Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Meteorite hunters and scientists discover one of Europe’s most extensive meteorite strewn fields

18.08.2016

Scientists from the Naturhistorischen Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern, the University of Bern and a group of meteorite hunters have discovered a substantial meteorite fall in their own backyard: a 160,000 year old strewn field is the sensation in Twannberg, near the Swiss city of Biel. Up to now, 600 fragments derive from the meteorite “Twannberg”, constituting one of Europe’s three most important strewn fields of iron meteorites.

The most spectacular meteorite find to hit Switzerland documents a significant fall event in Europe: a huge meteorite strewn field near Twann in the Canton of Bern (Switzerland) has been identified by team coordinator Beda Hofmann from the Natural History Museum Bern, scientists from the University of Bern and about 50 meteorite hunters.


Meteorite hunter in the huge meteorite strewn field near Twann in the Canton of Bern (Switzerland)

Three years of dedicated and tireless recovery expeditions have turned up 600 fragments belonging to the Twannberg Meteorite, a fall determined by Bern physicists and collaborating researchers from the Helmholz Center in Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany to have struck the Twann region about 160,000 years ago. This site represents one of nthe most extensive strewn fields in Europe, comparable with Europe’s two other big iron meteorite strewn fields, Morasko (Poland) and Muonionalusta (Northern Sweden).

Noble gas analyses conducted at the Physics Institute, University of Bern suggest that the “Twannberg” meteorite, as it is officially known, was approximately 6 to 20 meters in diameter, corresponding to 1,000−30,000 tons of massive iron. In the case of Morasko, estimates are at 1000 tons. Twannberg is considered one of the World’s largest known iron meteorite showers.

At the time of the meteorite fall, numerous fragments fell as a meteorite shower over a region of yet unknown expanse in the Swiss Jura, north of Lake Biel in today’s Canton of Bern. Although the assessment of this spectacular event and strewn field is still in progress, it is clear that the strewn field is extensive and that the number of meteorite fragments is estimated way over 1000.

Up to now, the strewn field covered a distance of 5 kilometers. However, in comparison to Muonionalusta (10 km) and Morasko (2.7 km) it is plausible that the strewn field extends for up to 15 kilometers. Up to now no crater has been detected, which likely reflects the fact that glaciers covered the region 24,000 years ago.

The Twannberg meteorite is not only the biggest of the eight meteorites recovered in Switzerland but it is also the only meteorite to be documented by numerous fragments. Twannberg represents one of the rarest examples of iron meteorites, the class IIG of which only 6 recognized finds are known. In addition to Switzerland, IIG iron meteorites have been found in the USA, Chile and South Africa.

Historical Context of the Twannberg Meteorite

The first Twannberg meteorite was discovered in 1984 by a farmer collecting stones in a field. For a long time this was the only known find. In 2000 another mass was found in the attic of an old house in Twann. By 2007, three small masses were additionally reported by gold prospectors from the Twannbach (Twann stream). Since this material was either transported by human agency or by stream away from the site of original impact, these finds could hardly document this unique fall.

New finds collected during 2009-2013 in the Twannbach ravine revealed 77 meteorites reaching weights up to 177 grams. Although these new finds increased in number, the site of impact still remained a mystery since it was unclear how far they had been transported down stream. Since so many meteorites were found in such a short time, it became clear that these meteorites fell as a shower. In 2013, a decisive find (TW83) was collected in the same field as the first in 1984.

Dr. Beda Hofmann, a renowned capacity in international meteorite research and head of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum Bern, has conducted 5 search expeditions since 2014. His team of 50 meteorite rockhounds, equipped with metal detectors and convening from as far away as Russia, the Czech Republic, Germany and diverse corners of Switzerland have scoured the region for additional fragments. Like precious truffles underground, new meteorites were detected at a typical depth of 15 cm. By June 2016, 570 meteorites weighing a total of 72.5 kilos were found. Meanwhile Beda Hofmann claims still more returns from the Twann strewn field and will no doubt report even more in upcoming years.

Special Exhibition presents parts of the Twannberg Meteorite
On August 19th the Natural History Museum Bern will open its doors for special exhibition of the “Twannberg Meteorite – Hunters of a lost treasure”, enabling a rare glimpse into the exciting recovery of meteorites and meteorite research.

Exhibition website with additional information and photos: www.twannbergmeteorit.ch

Contact: Simon Jäggi, Director of Communication, simon.jaeggi@nmbe.ch, +41 31 350 72 97
Beda Hofmann, Head Earth Sciences, beda.hofmann@nmbe.ch, +4131 350 72 40
Marc Jost, Meteorite collector, spacejewels@bluewin.ch, +41 79 427 9657

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.twannbergmeteorit.ch
http://www.nmbe.ch/informieren/aktuell/mediencorner
http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/metsoc2016/pdf/6160.pdf
http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/metsoc2016/pdf/6187.pdf

Simon Jäggi | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Earth gold prospectors meteorite meteorite fragments meteorite hunters

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

nachricht What makes erionite carcinogenic?
13.01.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>