| Global Times | 2013-2-25 0:58:01
By Zhang Hui
Rock fragments, alleged to be from the meteorite that hit Russia on February 15, are on sale online in China, with vendors claiming they have mystical properties that can drive away evil spirits and treat diseases.
About 100 threads on Taobao, an online shopping platform, were about Russian meteorites Sunday.
The meteorite exploded over Chelyabinsk, Central Russia on February 15, damaging buildings and injuring 1,200 people, according to Reuters. Russian scientists have found about 50 fragments, CNN reported.
A Taobao owner, surnamed Wang, said he had six Chelyabinsk meteorite fragments he obtained from a friend in Russia four days ago, and they were labeld at 588 yuan ($94) each.
"I just sold two of them for 1,000 yuan each," Wang said, guaranteeing customers a full refund if the rocks are fake.
Another online vendor claimed his meteorite rocks were still in Russia, and were picked up by his friend.
"They're about 10 grams, and you may think it's fake, but it's not something you can find every day…" the vendor wrote on his selling page.
Some vendors even claimed the meteorite fragments can treat diseases.
"Meteorites have strong energy that can drive away evil spirits as well as treat certain diseases like depression," a vendor surnamed Yue said.
Astronomers poured scorn on the suggestion that a meteorite fragment had healing properties.
"The majority of the meteorites sold on Taobao are fake, and the buyers should be very careful," said Zhu Jin, curator of the Beijing Planetarium.
He estimated the average price of meteorites in general is around several yuan per gram.
Many enthusiasts and scientists scrambled to find fragments in Russia in recent days, and some sold them online. Chelyabinsk meteorite fragments were selling for up to $212 on e-Bay Sunday.
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