What Created This Big Crater in Nicaragua?

Investigators stand on the edge of the crater where a possible meteorite struck. (Image: Google Images)
Investigators stand on the edge of the crater where a possible meteorite struck. (Image: Google Images)

Did a meteorite slam into a wooded area near Managua, Nicaragua’s international airport, or was it something else? Something caused a loud explosion, and left a crater 39 feet across, government officials said, according to The Associated Press. No damage or injuries were reported.

Humberto Garcia, of the Astronomy Center at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, speculated this might have been a meteorite from an asteroid dubbed “2014 RC” that soared past Earth.

At its closest, asteroid 2014 RC was a mere 25,000 miles from the Earth’s surface, about one-tenth of the distance to the moon, according to NASA.

NASA estimated the asteroid to be approximately 65 feet wide—roughly the size of a house.

This makes it similar in size to the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains region in February 2013 with the strength of 40 Hiroshima bombs, injuring more than 1,200 people. However, NASA said this was “unrelated” to RC 2014, citing a 13-hour difference in the asteroid flyby and the crater explosion, and the fact that no fireball was seen in the sky.

NASA’s Near Earth Object Program tracks more than 11,000 asteroids in orbits that pass relatively close to Earth.

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