On the occurrence and origin of anthropogenic radionuclides found in a fragment of the Chelyabinsk (LL5) meteorite

1Rebecca Querfeld, 1Mohammad R. Tanha, 2Lars Heyer, 2Franz Renz, 3Georg Guggenberger, 4Franz Brandstätter, 4Ludovic Ferrière, 4,5Christian Koeberl, 1Georg Steinhauser
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1111/maps.12855]
1Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institute of Radioecology and Radiation Protection, 30419 Hannover, Germany
2Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, 30167 Hannover, Germany
3Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institute of Soil Science, 30419 Hannover, Germany
4Natural History Museum, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria
5Department of Lithospheric Research, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Published by Arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

A piece of the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteorite was investigated for its content of anthropogenic radionuclides. In addition to traces of cesium-137 that had been previously reported for this particular fragment, we found an unusually high amount of strontium-90, which indicates that the source of this contamination was the Kyshtym accident (1957). A high Sr-90/Cs-137 activity ratio is characteristic for Kyshtym-derived contaminations. Based on the cesium-137 content in the soil from the finding site, it is estimated that the fragment was contaminated with soil particles in the milligram range upon impact. Investigation of the soil revealed very unusual ferromagnetic characteristics and an iron-rich chemical composition. Mössbauer spectroscopy indicated the presence of steel components in this soil, suggesting that the investigated meteorite fragment was found in an industrial dumping site rather than natural soil.

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