Korean Polar Explorers Find Massive Meteorite

A team of Korean scientists in Antarctica has discovered a large meteorite weighing 3.7 kg.

The Korea Polar Research Institute under the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute said Monday that the country's second exploration team to Antarctica discovered 13 meteorites in the western Thiel Mountains on Dec. 24, 29 and 30.

Last year, the country's first exploration team to the southern continent found five meteorites, but they weighed only between 200 and 400 g.

Meteorites, large pieces of rocks from outer space that have landed on Earth, are important in the study of the creation of the solar system and the evolution of the planets.

Antarctica accounts for just three percent of the Earth's surface, but over 80 percent or 25,000 of all discovered meteorites have been found there.

With a total of 18 meteorites discovered by the two exploration teams, Korea has become the fifth holder of meteorites after the U.S., Japan, China and Italy.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 15, 2008 06:23 KST