‘Vellore explosion was not a meteorite fall’

Scientists say the blast is a matter of “serious concern”.

March 04, 2016 12:00 am | Updated November 17, 2021 02:04 am IST - CHENNAI:

Nearly a month after the mysterious explosion in Vellore district scientists have declared that they did not find any meteorite substance in the samples collected from the scene. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and the State police had earlier said the explosion was caused by a “meteorite fall”.

On February 6, a man was killed and three others injured following an explosion in the campus of a private engineering college at Natrampalli in Vellore district.

While forensic experts ruled out a land explosion since no explosive material, ingredient or chemical residuals were found at the scene, scientists from the country’s top laboratories say they have reasons to believe that the mysterious explosion, the first of its kind, is a matter of “serious concern”.

“There is no definite proof to conclude that it was a meteorite fall. The samples given to us do not have the properties of a meteorite. May be, we are looking at the wrong samples. The footage from surveillance cameras, eyewitness accounts and nature of injuries certainly point to something serious. It is likely that something fell from the space…whether it bounced off or got scattered has to be seen,” a top scientist from the National Physical Laboratory, Ahmedabad, told The Hindu on Thursday.

The focus now is on ascertaining the source of the object and preventing the recurrence of such falls. Scientists are looking for other remains of the suspicious object around the campus. “This is a top priority investigation. If need be, we will simulate the circumstances for a better understanding of the impact. As a scientist, I am curious to know what it is…it cannot be dismissed as a meteorite because there is no such evidence as of now,” said the scientist seeking anonymity.

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