- Diario 'Los Andes' - Mendoza
- By Teresita Sancho
- Corresponsalia Sur
- The area where the meteor which frightened residents
in southern Mendoza last Friday morning has been logged. The place was
determined through the account of a rancher on the banks of the Diamante
River, who described in detail the direction of the possible impact site
of at least one of the sizeable chunks of rock.
- "A brightness with a reddish blue light almost left
us blind. It was followed by a very loud report and the earth shook. In
the early morning we saw lots of smoke which lingered until lunchtime,"
said the famer, a privileged witness to the phenomenon. "It wasn't
far from the house. Some leagues, maybe two days' on horseback," he
added, when asked about the distance. This description agrees with the
one given by some fishermen at the Agua del Toro dam.
- The explanation--particularly the reference regarding
the smoke, which no one had mentioned as of yet--gave Hector Correas, the
head of Civil Defense, the possibility to determine the impact site: "It
would be in the southern part of Cerro El Diamante, facing the Picasa Mine,
some 100 km south in a straight line from the city of San Rafael,"
explained the official, noting that this is a rough, mountainous area where
several private ranches can be found.
- Meanwhile, astronomer Jaime Garcia of the Instituto Copernico
spend all day combing the area on a 4x4 alongside scientists from the Pierre
Aucer cosmic ray laboratory. The purpose of the trip is to determine the
exact impact site by confecting a map based on eyewitness accounts, bearing
in mind "the time difference between the flash of light and the explosion."
They covered ranches in La Jaula and Las Aucas, upstream of El Diamante,
leaving the Agua del Toro dam behind and going into "the most extreme
areas that can be reached with a four-wheel drive vehicle."
- Parallel to this, there is a certain amount of mystery
to the event, and there has been an increase in various stories and remarks
about "something strange" having occurred that night, even though
scholars of the cosmos do not believe that anything supernatural occurred.
Daniel Matoz, 18, a member of the Asociacion de Astronomia del Sur is convinced
of this. That morning he was watching the sky, as he usually does on clear
nights. For two hours, his attention had been consumed by the planet Mars
and he suddenly found a beam of light "that flew very low, followed
by noise and a tremor." He calculates that 20 seconds elapsed between
the sheen, which he describes as an "expansion wave", and a noise
similar to "a person screaming inside a pipe."
- The fact is that the mystery that envelopes this phenomenon
has a reason: astronomers and Civil Defense do not wish to furnish further
details to protect the rock fragments from the greedy hands of collectors
of these items, which are greatly sought after all over the world.
- Translation (C) 2003 Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic
- Special thanks to Gloria Coluchi.