Meteorite Survives Catastrophic Fire at the National Museum of Brazil

Playing Early Meteorite Is Salvaged From Fire at Brazil's National Museum

After a massive fire swept the National Museum of Brazil, a giant meteorite is one of the few artifacts to remain intact.

Many of the institution's 20 million pieces, which constituted the largest museum in Latin America, were lost in Sunday's blaze. 

But the Bendego meteorite, the biggest ever found on Brazilian soil, remained on its pedestal. Weighing 11,600 pounds, the space rock was discovered in the state of Bahia in 1784 by a cattle farmer, according to Space.com.

The iron-nickel meteorite was moved via ox-drawn cart to the capital, but an accident sent the rock, roughly the size of a motorcycle, tumbling into a stream.

There it stayed until Emperor Pedro II had it moved to the museum, where it's been on display since 1888.

The cause the horrendous fire is under investigation and officials have said they cannot total the damages until the building is declared safe to enter. An expert told The Guardian nearly 90 percent of the museum's artifacts have been damaged or destroyed. 

Other priceless artifacts in the museum include the 11,000-year-old skull of a Paleoindian woman called "Luzia," several Egyptian mummies and a giant dinosaur known as Maxakalisaurus.

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