I've seen this movie

Mystery illness strikes after meteorite hits Peruvian village

Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.

Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.

Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide and 20-foot-deep crater, said local official Marco Limache.

"Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned," he said.

Update: Cover-up in full swing. Swamp gas. Return to your homes.

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34 Responses:

  1. bdu says:

    So, when does the zombie plague begin?

    • tokkan says:

      Not for another week if we're lucky. That's assuming the Peruvian Popo won't hush up things like "By the way guys, the sick people started vomiting blood... and organs..."

  2. latemodel says:

    Which movie would that be?

    (Yes, I know, this would work better if someone had ever bothered to make The Color Out of Space into a movie...)

  3. djinnaya says:

    Ooh! Yay! Oilians!

  4. stu_hacking says:

    I, for one, welcome our new alien-human hybrid overlords.

  5. rapier1 says:

    Seems to me a methane bubble would be more likely that a meteor impact. Thats just me though.

  6. strspn says:

    Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites are made of organic matter and sometimes contain amino acids, e.g., the Murchison meteorite.

    • strspn says:

      and, as I meant to say before hyperlinked the parent post, sometimes they contain mostly sulphides which liberate all kinds of noxious gases when heated.

  7. slacktide says:

    Wow. That's a landscape straight out of Elbonia.

  8. fishbliss says:

    Has the top cover of the meteorite unscrewed itself yet?

  9. mandil says:

    Spaceweather says for a meteor to leave a crater that size it would have registered seismically...which this one apparently hasn't. I say geologic issues assuming people aren't just screwing around.

    • yfel says:

      Wired says something similar. They say a meteorite should have been cold rather than hot enough to boil water.

      • strspn says:

        No. Space is cold, but meteoroids are in the unfiltered sun all the time. And atmospheric entry is hot enough to vaporize several inches of rock.

        • yfel says:

          Well, I'm not an expert on this at all. But from TFA:

          And this is where the story falls apart. Mid sized meteorites are not hot. I'll say it again: Mid sized meteorites are not hot. First, meteoroids are naturally cold. They've been out in the frigid blackness of space for many billions of years -- these rocks are cold down to their very center. Second, because of its size there's a good chance that this meteorite was originally part of a larger meteor that broke up anywhere between 60 and 30km above the surface. If that is the case, the larger meteor's cold interior would become the smaller meteor's cold exterior. Since hardly any surface heating takes place lower than about 30km, this cold surface doesn't warm up by any appreciable amount. Some meteorites, located soon after landing, have actually been reported to have frost on the surface due to their still cold interior.

          And even if the meteor didn't break apart, it would have about 3 millimeters of hot fusion crust on the surface being rapidly cooled down by 100kgs of cold stone. It is very rare to find a meteor that's too hot to be picked up with the bare hands right after landing.

          I find the above convincing. But I say again: I am not an expert (I have taken approximately one thermodynamics class ever), so I could definitely be wrong.

          • yfel says:

            Apropos: "Probably not so hot, but we don't really know."

          • mandil says:

            other parts of the internet seem to agree with you:

            this is one guy

            and the barringer meteorite crater quiz says of a 50 ton (prior to reaching earth) meteoroid:
            "Although the outer layers of a meteorite will be vaporized by the friction of its passage through the atmosphere, the part that reaches the Earth will retain the deep cold of outer space."

  10. porphyre says:

    Totally and completely OT, there's a gig coming up on Sept. 20 at the Boom Boom Room that you simply cannot miss. Really, it's close to indescribable, what he does, and it's 100% wonderful.

    (When I was trying to think of people who live in SF who's life I would like to affect in a positive way, you were first on my list.)