Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Wilkes Land had a huge crater just below it. Of course, Li Du didn’t know that. He did
not learn much about Antarctica and did not research the geography of the area.
Elson went to prepare dinner, and Steve sat them down and began to talk about the
purpose of his visit to Antarctica.
As he said earlier, he was looking for a meteorite. Inside his quarters hung many photos
of meteorites, and he took some and placed them on the table for Li Du to look at.
The Wilkes crater was discovered half a century ago and was located just beneath the
ice of Wilkes Field. It was a crater created from large impact.
The crater was so large that modern technology measured it to be 243 kilometers in
diameter and up to 848 meters deep.
In addition to the crater, there could be a mass tumor at Wilkes Field.
A mass tumor, as its name implies, was a tumor of extraordinary mass, which existed in
the interior of the earth. It consisted of minerals with a higher density than the
surrounding geological formations.
Mass tumors have been found on the moon and on Mars, and are the result of asteroid
impacts, according to NASA.
A mass tumor previously discovered on earth was found in Hawaii, but scientists
believed it was caused by a volcanic eruption, not an asteroid impact.
Only later did NASA’s gravity and climate monitoring satellite find Wilkes’ mass tumor,
which was larger than the crater and spanned about 300 kilometers!
There were no large volcanoes in that part of Antarctica, which ruled out the possibility
that the tumor was formed by volcanic eruptions. Therefore, there was only one
possible cause of mass tumor formation.
It was the result of an asteroid collision!
“Based on aeroacoustics, there are gravity anomalies in the lower end and mass
nodules of this crater, as well as a large number of glass meteorites, which are now
widely dispersed across the Australian continent. These meteorites originated from this
one,” Steve explained to him.
“What does that mean?” asked Li Du.
Steve said, “It means a lot. First of all, it means there are a lot of meteorites here, and
we’re looking for them.”
Li Du laughed. “Oh, are you planning to become a meteorite hunter?”
Like the art hunters he met in Miami, meteorite hunters were much the same:
professionals who looked for meteorites.
As was well known, meteorites have long been a rarity, rarer than gold and diamonds,
and there were only 300 pieces so far in the whole world.
Rare things were expensive, and meteorites and general collections did not have
scientific research value, so meteorite collecting has become important work in various
countries. Understanding the age of the earth and its evolution through meteorites had a
very high scientific value.
Most of this collection work was not carried out by private people but directly funded by
There was intense competition between governments, so the price of meteorites has
Li Du took notice of the meteorite market when he learned about the world luxury
Meteorites were not auctioned to regular customers and were considered a very special
In 1993, a lunar meteorite weighing just 0.33 grams was sold in Sotheby's for $442,500.
In May 1998, in Phillips auction house in New York, a Martian meteorite was sold for
$3.36 million even though its weight was just 0.28 grams!
Now that humans had been able to land on the moon and on Mars, supposedly it should
have been possible to bring back rocks from these two planets, which would make
That was not the case, however. First, only a few countries of the United Nations had
sent spaceships to the moon. Second, the only drilling device that could be sent to the
moon was the USA detector.
It was difficult and costly for the probe to transport the ore back to Earth, making such
artificially plumbed ore more expensive than natural meteorites.
The U.S. government even used ore brought back from Mars as a diplomatic tool.
Not long ago, the Parisian branch of Christie’s held an autumn History of Nature
auction, the centerpiece of which was a 43-centimeter long meteorite weighing 45
kilograms. The final bid for it was a staggering sum of 78.25 million euros.
Steve laughed and said, “The Tussenberg family are all meteorite hunters. Well,
actually, I might not be one. I came here for another purpose, to make a profit.”
“Then why did you come?” Li Du asked.
Steve was silent, obviously not wanting to give a direct answer.
Sophie secretly pulled on Li Du’s sleeve and changed the topic. “Are you going to look
for meteorites in the crater here? As far as I know, the Wilkes crater is under the ice
sheet and cannot be mined.”
Steve nodded and said ruefully, “Yes, the ice sheet is too hard and thick for the existing
technology to penetrate.”
“My idea was to look around the crater and see if we could find meteorites splattering on
the surface. I could also use the shallow surface excavation method Li used when he
mined for opal and look for meteorites that way.”
Li Du finally reacted, saying, “Oh, so you came to mine opals with me to prepare for
“To study for this job, yes. After all, I haven’t been exposed to similar work due to
practical reasons,” Steve laughed.
Li Du said, “It seems I have a knack for looking for minerals. If you think I can help, you
need only ask. I can’t bring it up because, you know, I don’t want you to feel like I’m
violating your privacy.”
Hearing this, Steve laughed helplessly.
He rubbed his hands. “Don’t get me wrong, Li. I’m not trying to keep a secret from you. I
just think that if I tell you this, you might not believe me.”
“Well, try me. You can say it, I will trust you,” said Li Du.
Steve said, “Well, let me tell you first, based on geology, topography and other studies,
if the impact crater and mass tumor in Wilkes Land were caused by a meteorite, it had
to have a diameter of 40 to 50 kilometers. And you know what? Just to give you some
perspective, the meteorite that created Chicxulub was only ten kilometers in diameter.”
The Chicxulub crater, an impact crater remnant found in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula,
was the largest impact crater currently accessible on earth.
The Cretaceous tertiary impact was considered a major cause of species mass
extinction. After the asteroid completely evaporated, it released 5.0 * 10 ^ 23 joules of
energy, which was equivalent to 120 trillion tons of TNT. It triggered a tsunami and
caused dust to spread throughout the atmosphere, completely covering the sun and
changing the global climate like a nuclear winter.
Many people were not aware of this, but the event of this gigantic impact coincided with
the end of the dinosaur age. Many researchers have speculated that the meteorite
caused the extinction of the dinosaurs that once ruled the earth!