Nicaragua's government says a loud boom heard overnight by residents of the capital was made by a small meteorite that left a crater in a wooded area near the city's airport.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Sunday that a committee formed by the government to study the event confirmed it was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth."

Murillo said Nicaragua will ask international experts to help local scientists in understanding what happened.

The crater left by the meteorite had a radius of 12 meters (39 feet) and a depth of 5 meters (16 feet), said Humberto Saballos of the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies. He said it is still not clear if the meteorite disintegrated or was buried.