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Police Confiscate 'Meteorite Fragments' from Russian Man Trying to Sell Online

Feb 19, 2013 07:22 AM EST

Russian police have seized an unidentified object from a man who was trying to sell it as a "meteorite fragment", news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

Regional police spokeswoman Anzhelika Chirkova told the news agency that the man, identified as a local resident of Chelyabinsk Region, was trying to sell 60 grams of the substance as meteor fragment through the Internet. The substance has been sent for testing in order to determine its composition and the possible health risks it could pose.

Last week, tiny fragments of a meteor streaked over Central Russia injuring more than 1,000 people and causing damage to property in Chelyabinsk Region. The meteor is the largest recorded space rock to hit Earth in more than a century, according to The Associated Press.

NASA estimates that the meteor could have weighed about 10,000 tons when it entered the Earth's atmosphere. The space rock left a 20-foot-wide hole in the ice-covered Chebarkul Lake. Scientists say that a large chunk of the meteor may have crashed into the lake. So far, divers examining the lake have not found anything at the bottom. But about 53 small fragments of the meteor that are less than 0.5 inches in size have reportedly been recovered from the lake.

The tiny fragments have not yet been officially confirmed, but some people have already started putting them up for sale. The meteor fragments are being sold for about 10,000 to 500,000 rubles (about $330 to $16,600), the police officials said.

They have warned people not to buy these tiny fragments online as they are being sold without any permits or certification, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

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