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The Carancas Impact Event was a meteorite impact event that occurred on September 15, 2007, when a chondritic meteorite crashed near the village of Carancas in Peru, close to the Bolivian border and to Lake Titicaca. The impact created a crater and scorched earth around its location. A local official, Marco Limache, said that “boiling water started coming out of the crater, and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby”, as “fetid, noxious” gases spewed from the crater.
After the impact, villagers who had approached the impact site grew sick from a then-unexplained illness, with a wide array of symptoms. Two days later, Peruvian scientists confirmed that there had indeed been a meteorite strike, quieting widespread speculation that it may have been a geophysical rather a celestial event. At that point, no further information on the cause of the mystery illness was known. The ground water in the local area is known to contain arsenic compounds, and the illness is now believed to have been caused by arsenic poisoning incurred when residents of the area inhaled the vapor of the boiling arsenic-contaminated water. (more...)