Peruvian Meteor Sickness Diagnosed

Last week, Peruvian villagers became ill after a meteorite fell near their homes (see Meteorite Brings Illness To Peruvian Village).

Examination of the site proved first that the crater was indeed the result of a meteorite impact. It was determined that the object was made up of rock, with almost no metal, making it an unusual object.


(Peru meteorite crater)

It turns out that the headaches and nausea of the local people were due to the inhalation of arsenic fumes, according to Luisa Macedo, a researcher for Peru's Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology Institute (INGEMMET), who visited the crash site.

The meteorite was heated to incandescence when it fell through the atmosphere; when the hot surface of the meteorite encountered an underground water supply tainted with arsenic, the fumes filled the air. Arsenic is a natural feature of the geography in that region.

Via National Geographic.

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