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METEORITES [1] Meteorites are composed either of stone or an alloy of nickel and iron.

Meteorites are meteors that penetrate the earths atmosphere and arrive at the surface of the earth. The meteors are fragments of meteoroids, which are rocks from space that bombard the earth everyday. Scientists believe that meteorites are the remains of comets and asteroids, minor planets having their orbits in the space between Jupiter and Mars.

[2] The threat from giant meteorites is constant. In 1937 a minor planet named Hermes, weighing about 250,000 metric tons, passed near the earth within the orbit of the moon. According to estimates, about seven small meteorites reach the earth per year and bury themselves in the ground. Other meteorites fall into the sea.

[3] There are a number of examples of meteorites having struck the earth with a telling effect. Twenty thousand years ago, scientists estimate, a large meteorite, weighing nearly one million metric tons, landed in the Arizona desert. It left a hole two kilometers wide and 173 meters deep, creating an effect similar to that of a 30-megaton hydrogen bomb or 15 million metric tons of dynamite.

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Dr. Lenin Lara Olivo English IV

Barringer Crater in Arizona. The crater was formed 12,000 years ago by the impact of a meteor. It is 173 meters (570 feet) deep and 1,260 meters (4,150 feet) in diameter.

[4] Siberia has recorded the impact of two spectacular meteorite strikes. On June 30, 1908, the Tunguska region was totally devastated by a giant meteorite. Shock waves were felt as far as 560 kilometers away, and the effects were in evidence over 3,885 square kilometers. The meteorite, however, left no crater. Scientists believe that it disintegrated before it hit the earth at more than 144,810 kilometers an hour. Estimates are that the meteorite weighed at least 500,000 metric tons.

[5] In 1947 hundreds of people in Siberia saw a meteorite fall as a brilliant ball of light moving southward across the sky. The meteorite left a trial of sparks as it vanished from sight and struck the earth. Then a giant column of brown smoke rose in the air, to a height of 32 kilometers.

[6] In United States, North and South Carolina contain thousands of shallow pits that are the result of meteorite strikes during the last 50,000 years. The destructive force and heat generated by the meteorites have obliterated everything in a 1,295-squarekilometer area.

[7] To date no highly populated area has been hit by a meteorite. Nevertheless, it is evident that a meteorite strike in any medium or large-sized city could cause a loss of life so great as to be almost unimaginable. 2
Dr. Lenin Lara Olivo English IV

Exercises: Completion: Complete the following statements using information from Meteorites 1. About _____________ small meteorites reach the earth per _____________ . 2. Meteorites come from _____________ , which are fragments of _____________ , rocks from space. 3. An alloy commonly found in meteorites is made up of _____________ , and _____________ . 4. In the Arizona desert is a hole two kilometers _____________ and _____________ meters deep, left by a meteor that weighed _____________ metric tons. 5. Siberia has recorded meteorite strikes in the year _____________ and in _____________ . 6. Hermes, a minor planet, passed near the earth in _____________ and weighed about _____________ metric tons. 7. Meteorite shock waves in Siberia traveled as far as _____________ kilometers and the meteorite affected _____________ square kilometers. 8. Most meteorites _____________ themselves in the ground. 9. Scientists believe that comets and _____________ come from the space between _____________ and Mars. True-False: Write T if the statement is true and F if it is false and then correct the false statements to make them true. ____ 1. Meteorites can be composed of stone. ____ 2. Giant meteorites threaten the earth only during certain seasons. ____ 3. A meteorite that struck in Siberia was probably going as fast as 144,810 kilometers an hour. ____ 4. Evidence of meteorite strikes in the United States can be found in New York State and in Montana. ____ 5. Some meteorites disintegrate before hitting the earth. ____ 6. The effect of a meteorite strike can be similar to that of a dynamite or a hydrogen bomb. ____ 7. Some meteorites fall into city suburbs. ____ 8. Meteors are really comets that penetrate the earths a tmosphere.

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Dr. Lenin Lara Olivo English IV