A unique stone skipping–like trajectory of asteroid Aletai

Ye Li, Bin Li, Weibiao Hsu, A. J.Timothy Jull, Shiyong Liao, Yuhui Zhao, Haibin Zhao, Yunhua Wu, Shaolin Li, Chipui Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Meteoroids/asteroids could deposit energy to Earth during their entries, which arouses great concerns. Strewn field, as a product of meteoroids/asteroids breakup, comprehensively reflects the trajectory, dynamics, and physical properties of meteoroids/asteroids. It typically has a length of several to a dozen kilometers. Nevertheless, the recently found massive Aletai irons in the northwest China comprise the longest known strewn field of ~430 kilometers. This implies that the dynamics of Aletai could be unique. Petrographic and trace elemental studies suggest that all the Aletai masses exhibit unique compositions (IIIE anomalous), indicating that they were from the same fall event. Numerical modeling suggests that the stone skipping–like trajectory associated with a shallow entry angle (e.g., ~6.5° to 7.3°) is responsible for Aletai’s exceptionally long strewn field if a single-body entry scenario is considered. The stone skipping–like trajectory would not result in the deposition of large impact energy on the ground but may lead to the dissipation of energy during its extremely long-distance flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabm8890
JournalScience Advances
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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