Scientists announced Monday the discovery of a 1-kilogram chunk of cosmic rock from the meteorite that crashed to Earth in a ball of fire near the city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15.
A piece weighing about 1 kilogram was found by a group of experts from the Urals Federal University who scoured a 50-kilometer-long strip of land below the meteorite's flight path, RIA-Novosti reported.
Of all the 100 or more meteorite fragments officially discovered most have been tiny, measuring no more than a centimeter in diameter. A 1-kilogram piece would be the biggest find to date.
But scientists said that the main body of the meteorite, which is estimated to have weighed between 200 and 500 kilograms, is still waiting to be recovered.
Despite appeals by scientists for locals to hand in any bits of meteorite that they stumble across, meteorite fragments are the subject of an increasingly eager search as souvenir hunters and local entrepreneurs look to make a profit by selling them to collectors.
Reports on Monday suggested that meteorite pieces had even been put up for sale on Internet sites in China.
The meteorite caused a massive shock wave when it crashed to Earth, injuring over 1,500 people, mainly from broken glass.
The meteorite entered the earth's atmosphere 91 kilometers above the Bolshie Donki Lake near Russia's border with Kazakhstan and within 9 seconds began to disintegrate, according to new data released by the International Astronomical Union.
After traveling 254 kilometers in 16 seconds, the remains of the meteorite smashed into the frozen Lake Chebarkul, about 2 kilometers from the city of Chebarkul.