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Home / Science / 430,000 years ago, a meteor exploded over Antarctica, leaving clues in the debris

430,000 years ago, a meteor exploded over Antarctica, leaving clues in the debris



A long time ago, an asteroid about the length of a football passed through the solar system during a collision with the earth. It rushed to the South Pole of the earth and aimed directly at a vast, cold and sparsely populated area: Antarctica.

That was the mid-Pleistocene 430,000 years ago. Elsewhere, some of the earliest Neanderthals spread across Europe, mammoths roamed the northern hemisphere, and the earth’s ice sheet became thicker and thicker.

The space rock violently hit the thick atmosphere of the earth. Friction tore it apart, and as the disintegrating meteor fell towards the Antarctic plateau, it left a fiery incandescent trace. As it approached the ice, the meteor exploded in the sky, sending superheated gas and vaporized cosmic debris directly to the ground.

These types of aerial explosions can cause huge damage, but they don̵

7;t gouge craters in the earth’s crust, which means finding their remaining fingerprints and determining how often they occur is just a guessing game.

Now, scientists studying tiny particles in Antarctica have found evidence of this ancient meteorite explosion. They used chemical clues locked in the particles to piece together events that happened hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Matthias van Ginneken, a planetary scientist at the University of Kent, said: “We know that asteroids are dangerous. Recent studies have shown that explosions are more dangerous than large planets because larger asteroids are very rare.” Ancient explosions in the magazine Scientific progress.

In 2013, a house-sized asteroid exploded in Chelyabinsk, Russia, blowing up glass and injuring more than 1,600 people. If a town was within the crosshairs of the larger Antarctic meteor 430,000 years ago, it would be destroyed. The explosive power is four times that of the meteor that flattened the forest near Tunguska, Russia in 1908, and it is thousands of times stronger than the nuclear bomb detonated in Hiroshima, Japan.

Like the explosion over Chelyabinsk and another explosion in the Bering Sea in 2018, they usually happen unexpectedly, because even the best telescopes on the planet are difficult to find smaller ones. planet. Van Kinneken said: “Now, we have a way to find traces and remnants of such influences in the geological record, which may be important for reassessing the history of influence on our planet.”

Frozen detective

In February 2018, van Ginneken traveled to Antarctica (this is his dream trip), looking for cosmic breadcrumbs. As a student, he has studied tiny grains collected from other Antarctic field sites, but he has not seen this frozen continent with his own eyes. When he arrived with the Belgian Antarctic meteorite expedition, the field season was over, and it took them only two weeks to search for microscopic extraterrestrial confetti on the ground.

The team investigated two locations, one of which was a tall and flat barren rocky area, adjacent to the Antarctic plateau of the Sør Rondane Mountains, which is a treasure trove. More than 800,000 years ago, Glacier Peak wiped it clean, perfectly preserving the fragments of the universe.

Van Kinneken said: “In Antarctica, you don’t have a lot of other things to fall on top of a mountain-it’s clean, there is no human activity, and there is no vegetation.” Within the time limit.”

He and his colleagues collected more than 12 pounds of sediment from the top of the mountain and brought it back to the laboratory. In the end, they selected 17 small balls, small round particles of molten meteorites, which were forged during the impact for detailed inspection. Van Kinneken said immediately that he could tell that these black particles originated from aliens and that something was wrong: they were not single spheres like most micrometeorites, but some of them were glued together.

When he and his team explored the oxygen composition of the pellets, they found that their particles were even stranger, and their oxygen isotope ratios were inconsistent with known asteroids. These ratios indicate that the resulting pellets are in direct contact with Antarctic ice, which is uncommon for gas bursts.

These small balls are very similar to the extraterrestrial dust previously studied by Van Kinniken-the particles are embedded in huge ice cores from the nearby Japan Antarctic Mount Fuji Dome Power Station and from the French-Italian station in the North Pole. One end of the dome is recovered from Concordia. These grains are approximately 430,000 years old, and scientists can calculate that age based on their location in the ice core (buried 1.5 miles below the surface).

Due to the similarity between the samples, the research team believes that all grains were formed in the same event. Considering the lack of craters in Antarctica, coupled with the small balls all over the continent, they suspected that there had been a large-scale air attack similar to Chelyabinsk in the distant past.

Chemical clues

But sorting the story of the sphere from there is not easy, in part because of the odd number of oxygen isotopes. Generally, small balls formed from molten meteorites during an aerial explosion do not interact with the planet’s surface until they resolidify and fall to the earth. Therefore, Natalia Artemieva from the Planetary Science Institute used computer simulations to test whether a more complex explosion might have occurred.

“We already know that such an event will happen. We only need a larger body to make the plume reach the surface (but not too big to form a crater-just’kiss’ the ice is enough”), Artemieva Wrote in an email. . “After several attempts, we found a possible situation.”

In the Antarctic impact model, vaporized debris from an exploding asteroid is launched toward the ground in a plume of extremely hot gas, which hits the surface of the Earth like an interplanetary tsunami. It’s a bit like a mixture between a Chelyabinsk-style explosion (no downward plume) and a normal crater-forming collision.

The research team called this a “landing” shock, which is very similar to other explosions simulated by the University of New Mexico physicist Mark Boslough. Boslow suspects that one of these incidents is the culprit of the 30 million-year-old mysterious glass scattered in the eastern part of the Sahara Desert. The smooth yellow shards resemble sea glass, which puzzles scientists because they exist in the middle of the desert and cannot be explained otherwise.

Boslov said that the simulation in the new paper is reliable. It is not surprising that the landing explosion exploded on prehistoric Antarctica. The landing can be filled with a deadly punch and cover up anything below it. Near the earth, there are a large number of space rocks of the right size (span between 300 and 500 feet) that can produce landing shocks. Therefore, it is important to understand the frequency of these violent collisions with our planet.

Van Ginneken said: “When you think about it, it’s very scary.” However, this new study may provide a way to detect other touchdowns in the geological record, allowing scientists to better understand These events pose a threat to the earth.

Consider other possibilities

Christian Koeberl of the University of Vienna thinks the team’s explanation is reasonable, but he is skeptical. He said that the trouble starts with the age of the fixed sphere, which is difficult to do. Although the team found that the dust is similar to other sites, this is not an ironclad connection. This is a view that van Ginneken agrees.

Koeberl said: “This is not necessarily their fault, it is difficult to do.” “This is a common problem.”

Instead, Koeberl said, these small balls may be as old as the cleanly swept surface on which they were found, and this is the result of an older shock-forming event. If this is the case, then perhaps it is not surprising that there is no crater: a moving ice sheet can eliminate a small impact.

Koeberl said that if these types of impacts are common, there should be sufficient evidence in the geological record to show their existence-but touchdown effects have not been clearly found before. He is not yet convinced that the oxygen isotope ratio points to mixing with ice. It is possible that the research team recovered debris from a rare type of asteroid that scientists had not previously described, but Van Kinneken believes this is unlikely.

Koeberl said: “I think the data is good, the measurement results are also good, and the explanation is not impossible, but it is not subject to the constraints shown by the data.” “There are more possibilities, but it is interesting to get there. s story.”

Scientists hoping to find out how often an explosion occurred also turned their eyes to the sky and conducted a detailed census of objects that might blow overhead. At present, we still have no way to eliminate the harm from the universe, but the mission to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid and shoot it down, launched later this year, may provide a way to protect our planet.

At the same time, a better understanding of how big an explosion might be is essential to help people along the way get out of trouble in time.

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It hurtled toward the planet’s southern pole, aiming straight for an icy, unpopulated expanse: Antarctica."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html1","cntnt":{"mrkup":"It was 430,000 years ago, in the middle of the Pleistocene epoch. Elsewhere, some of the earliest Neanderthals were spreading across Europe, mammoths roamed the Northern Hemisphere, and Earth’s ice sheets were growing thicker. "},"type":"p"},{"id":"html2","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The space rock slammed into the planet’s thick atmosphere. Friction tore it apart, and as the disintegrating meteor plummeted toward the Antarctic plateau, it left a flaming, incandescent trail in its wake. As it neared the ice, the meteor exploded in the sky, launching a superheated jet of gas and vaporized cosmic debris straight at the ground."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html3","cntnt":{"mrkup":"These kinds of mid-air explosions can cause immense amounts of damage, but they don’t gouge craters in Earth’s crust—meaning that finding their leftover fingerprints, and determining how frequently they occur, has been a bit of a guessing game."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html4","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Now, scientists studying tiny particles found in Antarctica have uncovered evidence of this ancient meteoritic airburst, and they used chemical clues locked in the particles to piece together what happened hundreds of thousands of years ago."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html5","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“We know asteroids are dangerous, and recent studies have suggested that airbursts are more dangerous than large asteroids, because larger asteroids are very rare,” says Matthias van Ginneken, a planetary scientist at the University of Kent and lead author of a new study describing the ancient explosion in the journal Science Advances."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html6","cntnt":{"mrkup":"In 2013, a house-size asteroid blew up over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk, shattering glass and injuring more than 1,600 people. If a town had been in the crosshairs of the larger Antarctic meteor 430,000 years ago, it would have been destroyed. The explosive force was four times more powerful than the 1908 meteor airburst that flattened forests near Tunguska, Russia, and thousands of times stronger than the nuclear bomb that detonated in Hiroshima, Japan."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html7","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Airbursts such as the one over Chelyabinsk—and another that detonated over the Bering Sea in 2018—often occur unexpectedly because smaller asteroids are difficult to find, even with Earth’s best telescopes. “Now we have a way to find traces and remnants of such impacts in the geological record, which could be important to reassess the impact history of our planet,” van Ginneken says."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html8","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Frozen detectives"},"type":"h2"},{"id":"html9","cntnt":{"mrkup":"In February 2018, van Ginneken visited Antarctica—a dream trip for him—in search of cosmic breadcrumbs. As a Ph.D. student, he’d studied tiny grains collected from other Antarctic field sites, but he had yet to see the frozen continent with his own eyes. When he arrived with the Belgian Antarctic Meteorite expedition, it was the end of the field season and they had just two weeks to scour the landscape for microscopic extraterrestrial confetti."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html10","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The team surveyed two dozen sites, and one of them—a high, flat patch of barren rock bordering the Antarctic Plateau in the Sør Rondane mountains—was a treasure trove. Scraped clean by glaciers more than 800,000 years ago, the summit site perfectly preserved cosmic debris."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html11","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“In Antarctica, you don’t have much else falling on top of mountains—it’s very clean, there’s no human activity, there is no vegetation,” van Ginneken says. “So all the material that falls from space is preserved over very long times.” "},"type":"p"},{"id":"html12","cntnt":{"mrkup":"He and his colleagues collected more than 12 pounds of sediment from the summit and took it back to the lab. Ultimately, they selected 17 spherules, tiny round grains of melted meteorite that are forged during impacts, for detailed scrutiny. Immediately, van Ginneken says, he could tell the black grains were alien in origin and that something wasn’t quite right: Instead of being single spheres like most micrometeorites, some of them were stuck together."},"type":"p"},{"id":"Meteorite Spherules","cntnt":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"Meteorite Spherules","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"A microscope image of particles from the impact event in the Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica.","credit":"Image by Scott Peterson, micro-meteorites.com","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.4222222222222223},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c066924e-e722-462d-8389-e4b06e378641/vanginneken2HR","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c066924e-e722-462d-8389-e4b06e378641/vanginneken2HR.jpg","altText":"meteorite explosion in Antartica","crdt":"Image by Scott Peterson, micro-meteorites.com","dsc":"Micrograph of impact particles from the Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"meteorite"},"imageAlt":"meteorite explosion in Antartica","imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c066924e-e722-462d-8389-e4b06e378641/vanginneken2HR_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358"},"type":"inline"},{"id":"html13","cntnt":{"mrkup":"When he and his team probed the spherules’ oxygen composition, the grains proved even stranger, containing ratios of oxygen isotopes that are inconsistent with known asteroids. Those ratios suggested that the spherules formed in direct contact with the Antarctic ice, which is unusual for an airburst."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html14","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The spherules closely resembled extraterrestrial dust that van Ginneken had studied before—grains embedded in immense ice cores retrieved from the nearby Japanese Antarctic station at Dome Fuji and from the French-Italian station at Dome Concordia on the other side of the continent. Those grains are roughly 430,000 years old, an age that scientists can calculate based on their position in the ice cores—buried 1.5 miles beneath the surface."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html15","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Because of the similarities between the samples, the team reasoned that the grains were all formed during the same event. Given the lack of craters in Antarctica, plus the spherules scattered across the continent, they suspected some kind of mega-Chelyabinsk-like airburst occurred in the distant past. "},"type":"p"},{"id":"html16","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Chemical clues"},"type":"h2"},{"id":"html17","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Putting together the spherules’ story from there wasn’t simple, though, in part because of the odd oxygen isotopes. Normally, spherules that form from melted meteorite during a mid-air explosion don’t interact with a planet’s surface before re-solidifying and falling to Earth. So Natalia Artemieva, from the Planetary Science Institute, used computer simulations to test whether a more complex type of airburst might have occurred."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html18","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“We already knew that such events happen, we just need a bit larger body to allow the plume to reach the surface (but not too big to make a crater—just ’kissing’ ice would be perfect),” Artemieva wrote in an email. “After a few attempts, we found one possible scenario.”"},"type":"p"},{"id":"html19","cntnt":{"mrkup":"In the model of the Antarctic impact, vaporized debris from an exploding asteroid is launched toward the ground in a plume of extremely hot gas, which pummels the planet’s surface like an interplanetary tsunami. It’s somewhat of a hybrid between a Chelyabinsk-like airburst, which doesn’t produce a downward plume, and a normal crater-creating collision."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html20","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The team called it a “touchdown” impact, and it’s very similar to other explosions Mark Boslough, a physicist at the University of New Mexico, has modeled. Boslough suspects that one of these events is the culprit behind mysterious, 30-million-year-old glass scattered across the Eastern Sahara—smooth, yellow fragments resembling sea glass that have puzzled scientists because of their otherwise unexplainable presence in the middle of the desert."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html21","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Boslough says the simulations in the new paper are solid and that it wouldn’t be surprising for a touchdown airburst to have exploded over prehistoric Antarctica.Touchdowns can pack a deadly punch, obliterating whatever is beneath them. And there’s a large number of space rocks near Earth that are the right size—between 300 and 500 feet across—to produce touchdown impacts, so it’s vital to understand how frequently these violent collisions with our planet occur."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html22","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“It’s pretty scary when you think about it,” van Ginneken says. The new research, however, could provide a way to detect other touchdowns in the geologic record, allowing scientists to gain a better understanding of the threat these events pose to Earth."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html23","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Considering other possibilities"},"type":"h2"},{"id":"html24","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Christian Koeberl, of the University of Vienna, finds the team’s interpretation reasonable, but he’s a bit skeptical. The trouble starts, he says, with pinning an age on the spherules, which is extremely hard to do. Although the team identified a resemblance with the dust from other sites, it’s not an ironclad association—a point that van Ginneken agrees with. "},"type":"p"},{"id":"html25","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“It’s not necessarily a fault of theirs, it’s just difficult to do,” Koeberl says. “It’s a common problem.” "},"type":"p"},{"id":"html26","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Instead, Koeberl says it’s possible the spherules are as old as the clean-swept surface where they were found—relics from a much older impact-forming event. If that’s the case, perhaps the absence of a crater isn’t so surprising: A small impact gouge could have been erased by the shifting ice sheets."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html27","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Koeberl says that if these types of impacts are common, there should be ample evidence of their existence in the geologic record—but touchdown impacts have not been definitively found before. He is also not convinced that the oxygen isotope ratio points toward mixing with ice. It’s possible the team recovered fragments from a rare type of asteroid that scientists haven’t previously characterized, but van Ginneken thinks that’s unlikely."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html28","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“I think the data are good, and the measurements are fine, and the interpretations are not impossible but also not as constrained by the data as the paper appears to say,” Koeberl says. “There are more possibilities, but it’s an interesting story to get out there.”"},"type":"p"},{"id":"html29","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Scientists hoping to figure out how frequently airbursts occur are also turning their eyes to the skies and making a detailed census of objects that could explode overhead. For now, we still don’t have a way to deflect cosmic hazards—but a mission launching later this year to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid and knock it off course could provide one way to protect our planet."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html30","cntnt":{"mrkup":"In the meantime, better understanding how big of a blast an airburst could produce will be crucial for helping people in its path get out of the way in time. "},"type":"p"}],"cid":"drn:src:natgeo:unison::prod:757470a4-0e0b-464d-bbb2-ddb2b8a6f870","cntrbGrp":[{"contributors":[{"displayName":"Nadia Drake"}],"title":"By","rl":"Writer"}],"mode":"richtext","dscrptn":"Remnants from the space rock may help explain how often these cosmic explosions occur—and the threat they pose to Earth.","enableAds":true,"endbug":true,"isMetered":true,"isUserAuthed":false,"ldMda":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"be8f0b85-5270-41db-84c0-0634af9e8f73","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"An artist's depiction of a "touchdown" meteor impact over Antarctica.","credit":"Illustration by Mark A. Garlick, markgarlick.com","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.476568132660418},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/cc16db60-55e4-4393-8202-d96b258ff6a0/vanginneken1HR","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/cc16db60-55e4-4393-8202-d96b258ff6a0/vanginneken1HR.jpg","altText":"meteorite exploding over Antarctica","crdt":"Illustration by Mark A. Garlick, markgarlick.com","dsc":"Artist rendering of a touchdown impact event over Antarctica.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"meteorite"},"imageAlt":"meteorite exploding over Antarctica","imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/cc16db60-55e4-4393-8202-d96b258ff6a0/vanginneken1HR_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358","hideEndBug":true,"type":"imageLead","hideLine":true},"mdDt":"2021-03-31T20:44:05.743Z","readTime":"9 min read","schma":{"athrs":[{"name":"Nadia Drake"}],"cnnicl":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/430000-years-ago-a-meteor-exploded-over-antarctica-leaving-clues-in-the-debris","kywrds":"touchdown, airburst, bolide, chelyabinsk, tunguska, planetary protection ","lg":"https://assets-cdn.nationalgeographic.com/natgeo/static/default.NG.logo.dark.jpg","pblshr":"National Geographic","abt":"Meteors","sclDsc":"Remnants from the space rock may help explain how often these cosmic explosions occur—and the threat they pose to Earth.","sclImg":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/cc16db60-55e4-4393-8202-d96b258ff6a0/vanginneken1HR.jpg?w=1200","sclTtl":"430,000 years ago a meteor exploded over Antarctica, leaving clues in the debris"},"sctn":"Science","sctnLbls":[{"name":"Science","type":"sources","uri":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science"},{"name":"News","type":"genres"}],"shrURLs":{"fbIcon":"facebook","fb":"https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2F430000-years-ago-a-meteor-exploded-over-antarctica-leaving-clues-in-the-debris","fbAriaLabel":"article.facebookShare.ariaLabel","fbLabel":"article.facebookShare.label","fbButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"430,000 years ago a meteor exploded over antarctica, leaving clues in the debris","share_method":"facebook"},"emailIcon":"email__filled","email":"https://api.addthis.com/oexchange/0.8/forward/email/offer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2F430000-years-ago-a-meteor-exploded-over-antarctica-leaving-clues-in-the-debris&title=430%2C000%20years%20ago%20a%20meteor%20exploded%20over%20Antarctica%2C%20leaving%20clues%20in%20the%20debris","emailLabel":"Email","emailButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"430,000 years ago a meteor exploded over antarctica, leaving clues in the debris","share_method":"email"},"twitter":"https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2F430000-years-ago-a-meteor-exploded-over-antarctica-leaving-clues-in-the-debris&text=430%2C000%20years%20ago%20a%20meteor%20exploded%20over%20Antarctica%2C%20leaving%20clues%20in%20the%20debris&via=NatGeo","twitterLabel":"Tweet","twitterButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"430,000 years ago a meteor exploded over antarctica, leaving clues in the debris","share_method":"twitter"}},"title":"430,000 years ago a meteor exploded over Antarctica, leaving clues in the debris","wrdcnt":1737,"amplnk":"https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/science/article/430000-years-ago-a-meteor-exploded-over-antarctica-leaving-clues-in-the-debris","pbDt":"2021-03-31T18:00:03.829Z","dt":"2021-03-31T18:00:03.829Z"}]}],"cmsType":"ArticleBodyFrame"},{"id":"email-sticky-footer-frame1"},{"id":"paywall-meter-frame1"},{"id":"paywall-frame1"},{"id":"natgeo-web-template-readthisnext-frame","mods":[{"id":"natgeo-web-template-readthisnext-module","cmsType":"RecirculationGridModule","itemTruncate":{"description":4,"title":4},"contentList":[{"description":"Biblical texts found during a multi-year Israeli expedition make headlines, but archaeologists are buzzing over an intact Stone-Age basket.","img":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.5386927122464313},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/ab3196d0-1dcd-4909-b701-82408b560e8d/01-scrolls-basket-discovery","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/ab3196d0-1dcd-4909-b701-82408b560e8d/01-scrolls-basket-discovery.jpg","altText":"scrolls","crdt":"Photograph by Shai Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority","dsc":"21. 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Clay County is one of the poorest and most rural counties in West Virginia, in order to make sure homebound and disabled patients receive the COVID-19 vaccine, workers with Community Care WV, Jeremy Walker NP and Chrissy D visit rural homes of residents who haven't left their homes in a year, due to the pandemic. Community Care, a FQHC provides many of the counties residents with patient centered care, specializing in primary and continious care. The majority of its patients receive medicare benefits. West Virginia is one of the states leading the nation in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, despite generally being considered one of the sickest states in the nation. Through a partnership of local pharmacies, West Virginia National Guards, FQHC and volunteer staffing the vaccine has made it to more arms, based on a percentage of the population, than any other state besides Alaska. 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