Nicaragua asks for help from US, international groups in investigating meteorite fall

A handout picture released by the Nicaraguan presidency press office showing two Nicaraguan soldiers standing guard in the site where an alleged meteorite struck on Sept 7, 2014 in Managua. -- PHOTO: AFP
A handout picture released by the Nicaraguan presidency press office showing two Nicaraguan soldiers standing guard in the site where an alleged meteorite struck on Sept 7, 2014 in Managua. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANAGUA (AFP) - Nicaragua has asked the United States and international organisations for help investigating a meteorite that smashed near the capital, leaving a crater of 12m in diameter.

Presidential spokesman Rosario Murillo said Nicaragua is seeking outside help for information on similar events.

Some foreign scientific journals have expressed interest in sending staff to investigate the meteorite, she said.

The crash and explosion from the meteorite were felt across Managua late on Saturday. Despite hitting Earth near the international airport of a sprawling city of 1.2 million people, the meteorite did not cause any known injuries as it landed in a wooded area.

People were alarmed, with some believing it was one of the earthquakes that frequently rock the Central American nation.

Some Nicaraguan authorities said they believe it was a piece of the small asteroid dubbed "2014 RC", which passed very close to Earth on Sunday and was estimated by astronomers to be about 20m big, or the size of a house.

But Nicaraguan astronomer Jaime Incer ruled this out on Monday, saying that asteroid only came within 40,000km of the Earth, and was not supposed to fall.