A mysterious boom heard in the Nicaraguan capital Managua was made by a meteorite that left a crater in a wooded area near the airport.
Local residents reported hearing a loud boom on Saturday night, but said they did not see anything strange in the sky.
“I was sitting on my porch and I saw nothing, then all of a sudden I heard a large blast. We thought it was a bomb because we felt an expansive wave,” Jorge Santamaria said.
Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said a committee it formed to study the event determined it was a “relatively small” meteorite that “appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth”.
She said Nicaragua will ask international experts to help local scientists in understanding what happened.
The crater left by the meteorite had a radius of 39 feet and a depth of 16 feet, said Humberto Saballos, a volcanologist with the Nicaraguan institute of territorial studies who was on the committee.
He said it is still not clear if the meteorite disintegrated or was buried.
Humberto Garcia, of the astronomy centre at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, said the meteorite could be related to an asteroid that was forecast to pass by the planet on Saturday night.
“We have to study it more because it could be ice or rock,” he said.
Wilfried Strauch, an adviser to the institute of territorial studies, said it was “very strange that no one reported a streak of light. We have to ask if anyone has a photo or something”.
The site of the crater is near Managua’s international airport and an air force base. Only journalists from state media were allowed to visit it.