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Air & Space

Russians pull huge meteorite from lake -- and promptly break it

  • Russia Meteor chunk found 2.jpg

    Oct. 16, 2013: People look at what scientists believe to be a chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor, recovered from Chebarkul Lake near Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Firsov)

  • Russia Meteor chunk found 1.jpg

    Feb. 15, 2013: A meteorite contrail is seen over the Ural Mountains' city of Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/, Yekaterina Pustynnikova)

  • Russia Meteor chunk found.jpg

    Oct. 16, 2013: Divers retrieve what is believed to be part of the Chelyabinsk meteor from Chebarkul Lake near Chelyabinsk, some 930 miles east of Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Firsov)

  • Meteorite chunk Chelyabink.jpg

    Feb. 15, 2013: A police officer stands near a 20-foot-wide hole in the ice of a frozen lake, the site of a meteor fall outside the town of Chebakul in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. (Chelyabinsk Region Police Depart/AFP)

Eight months after a meteorite screamed out of the skies over the Ural mountains and shattered -- leading to about 1,200 injuries from the shockwave it created -- Russian divers pulled a hefty chunk of the space rock from a murky lake.

As shown on live TV in Russia, divers entered lake Chebarkul on Wednesday and pulled a 5-foot long, 1,255-pound hunk of the rock from the water, AFP reported -- and promptly broke it.

"The rock had a fracture when we found it," one unnamed scientist said during the live video feed. As the scientists pulled it from the lake, using levers and ropes, the fracture expanded, splitting it into at least three pieces.

"It weighed [1,255-pounds] before the pieces fell off. And then the scale broke," he reportedly said.

Caroline Smith, curator of meteorites at London's Natural History Museum, confirmed that the object was a meteorite from characteristic features that are clear in images, she told BBC News.

"Fusion crust forms as the meteoroid is travelling through the atmosphere as a fireball," she said. "The outer surface gets so hot it melts the rock to form a dark, glassy surface crust which we term a fusion crust."

Other surface features also identify the rock's deep-space origin.

"Regmaglypts are the indentations, that look a bit like thumbprints, also seen on the surface of the meteorite," she said.