Remains of minivan-sized meteorite sliced five ways for researchers across the US

Photo credit: the Smithsonian Institution

A meteorite that exploded in a fireball over California in 2012 has been cut into five pieces and distributed among five US institutions for research.

The meteorite was roughly the size of a minivan when it crashed into the Earth's surface with a "loud boom," shrinking to 205 grams by the time it hit the ground.

The Smithsonian performed the cut, keeping a piece for itself (of course) and sending one piece to each of the following institutions: the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Arizona State University, the University of California-Davis and the Field Museum.

The meteor dates back 4-5 billion years, during the early formation of the solar system.

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