Meteorite Crater Causing Mass Sickness?

For our weekly collaboration with Cellar Image of the Day, here is The Andromeda Strain come to life: Peruvian citizens are blaming a mysterious crater, supposedly formed by a meteorite impact, for a host of illnesses:

It has all the hallmarks of a 1950s B-movie - a remote location, mysterious lights in the sky, a crater that appeared from nowhere, and a disease that spread like the plague through locals.

But this is no science fiction film. Officials in Peru yesterday revealed that 200 people had fallen sick after an object from space crashed into the south of the country over the weekend.

But scientists, those party poopers, are unconvinced:

However, other meteor experts are unconvinced. Dr Caroline Smith of the Natural History Museum in London, said: "It's the third incident like this in Peru in the last few years - and none have turned out to be meteorites.

"It's far more likely to have a been caused by the explosion of gases that build up naturally under the ground.

"In that part of Peru, you might get a build up of methane or hydrogen sulphide, both of which have an eggy smell and which could cause health problems."

Link - Be sure to check out Cellar Image of the Day for more fun and amazing pics!

I actually was looking into this story the other day, apparently they're linking the illness to arsenic poisoning from arsenic that had built up in water deposits under the surface of the soil and then vaporized by the heat or the meteorite.
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What a bunch of idiots. People are getting sick from this, whatever it is, yet look at the picture, a whole bunch of morons just HAD to come out to get a good look...
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Pravda reports on this as well:

" Russian Military Intelligence Analysts are reporting today that one of the United States most secretive spy satellites, the KH-13, targeting Iran was 'destroyed in its orbit' with its main power generator powered by the radioactive isotope Pu-238 surviving re-entry and crashing in a remote region of the South American Nation of Peru, and where hundreds are reported to be ill from radiation poisoning.

Western media reports are stating that the US spy satellite debris hitting Peru was caused by a meteor, but which, according to these reports, would be 'impossible' as the size of 30-meter crater, if caused by a meteorite, would have hit the ground with about as much energy as 1 kiloton tactical nuclear weapon, and which would have been recorded by the seismic stations around the World."

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gases can ignite - perhaps explaining the lights in the sky. i think it happens at fault lines sometimes.
this satellite thing's interesting though...
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This Peru thing reminded me of a book I recently read entitled MICROBE by Bill Clem. It details the events surrounding a bacteria-carrying meteor that hit Ft. Miles, Delaware in 1947 killing several dozen soldiers and the Army's subsequent cover-up. It's supposed to be fiction, but if you check out the historical facts, it seems more like narrative non-fiction. You decide. Anyway, great book. I got mine off Amazon
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