Mysterious Black Rocks Are Meteorites

Mysterious black rocks that suddenly turned up in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province on March 10 and 11 were parts of a meteorite shower over Korea on the evening of March 9.

This is the first time in 71 years that meteorites have been discovered here.

The Korea Polar Research Institute used electronic and electron microscopes to determine they were ordinary chondrites, which account for around 80 percent of meteorites that fall on earth.

Institute staff believe the two meteorites discovered in Jinju come from the same piece, which was split up while entering the earth's atmosphere.

But further analysis is needed to determine the value of the meteorites. The going price on the international market is between US$3-$10 per gram, so the rock weighing 9.36 kg could cost W100 million, while the other weighing 4.1 kg would fetch around W44 million (US$1=W1,071).

But a scientist at the institute said there is room for further increases in value given that this was the first discovery of meteorites in 71 years.

The institute will take another five to six days before announcing the monetary values of the rocks. The Cultural Heritage Administration plans to designate them natural treasures.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 17, 2014 09:59 KST