Friday, February 15, 2013
More than 500 people are reportedly injured, and hundreds of buildings damaged, after a meteorite streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains Friday morning (Feb. 15) and exploded in a massive blast.
The meteor explosion was centered around the Chelyabinsk region, which is about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) east of Moscow.
Most of the hundreds injured were reportedly hurt by falling glass in the blast, 112 of whom have been hospitalized, due to cuts from the shattered glass resulting from the blast. In addition, an estimated 297 buildings were damaged, including six hospitals and 12 schools, according to translations of updates by the Russian Emergency Ministry.
Scientists think a meteoroid entered the atmosphere above Russia’s southern Chelyabinsk region, where it exploded and broke up into meteorites scattered across three regions of Russia and Kazakhstan, according to news reports. [Photos of Russia’s Meteor Fireball Blast]
“I would think that this is likely an exploding fireball (or bolide) event caused by the atmospheric impact of a small asteroid,” Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program, told SPACE.com. “If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs. the trailing side.”
Basically, Yeomans added, the meteor “pancaked and exploded.”
(A bolide is an extraterrestrial body ranging in size from 0.6 to 6 miles, or 1-10 km across that hits Earth at velocities faster than a speeding bullet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.)
Full article: http://www.space.com … russia-injuries.html