A collision on asteroid Vesta that created the U-shaped Antonia impact crater 22 million years ago produced the meteorites that fell near the village of Sariçiçek in Turkey in 2015, according to an international team of 79 researchers. Their 56-page study is published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.
“We visited Sariçiçek shortly after the fall,” says Ozan Unsalan, lead author and planetary scientist from Ege University in Izmir, Turkey. “The villagers and scientists from nearby Bingöl University provided meteorites for study and mapped the location of 343 finds.”
The meteorites were found to be of a type called howardite, part of a clan of meteorites called howardite-eucrite-diogenites (HED).
The meteorites reflect light much like asteroid Vesta and its family of Vestoids. 525-kilometre (326-mile) Vesta is the second largest body in the asteroid belt. The 0.8 to eight kilometre (0.5 mile to five mile) sized Vestoids are fragments from a massive collision that created the Rheasilvia impact basin on Vesta.
“Scientists have long suspected that HED meteorites originate from Vesta or its Vestoids, but were unable to point to a specific impact site,” says Takahiro Hiroi of Brown University, United States, who measured the reflectance properties of the meteorites.