Meteor crash in Peru causes mysterious illness

Washington, Sept.22 : A mysterious illness has hit a number of residents living near the Lake Titicara in Peru following the crashing of a rare kind of meteorite.

Peruvian researchers have confirmed the origins of the object after studying samples of it at a laboratory in Lima.

Residents, according to the National Geographic, have complained of headaches and nausea, spurring speculation that the explosion was a subterranean geyser eruption or a release of noxious gas from decayed matter underground.

Luisa Macedo, a researcher for Peru's Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology Institute (INGEMMET), who visited the crash site, says that the illness is the result of inhaling arsenic fumes.

The meteorite created the gases when the object's hot surface met an underground water supply tainted with arsenic, the scientists said.

Locals have described the meteorite as a bright, fiery ball with a smoke trail.

The meteorite's impact with the lake sent debris flying up to 820 feet away, with some material landing on the roof of the nearest home 390 feet from the crater.

The resulting crater resembles a muddy pond measuring 42 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

Even as meteorite samples arrived in Lima Thursday for testing, Peruvian scientists seemed to unanimously agree that it was a meteorite that had struck their territory. (With inputs from ANI)