Meteorite Explodes Over Russia

On Friday, February 15th, 2013, at approximately 9:20 a.m., a meteorite exploded over Russia, causing excessive damages to citizens and buildings. The meteorite was approximately 10 tons and 49 feet wide, according to NASA, and released as much energy as an atomic bomb upon detonation. The detonation is believed to have occurred 18-32 miles above ground, after the object streaked through the atmosphere at a speed reaching as high as 33,000 miles per hour. The meteorite exploded near the town of Chebarkul, which has a population of approximately one million and sits about 930 miles east of Moscow. The explosion caused part of a factory roof to cave in and shattered over one million square feet of glass. The excessive amount of glass damage also led to injury, with as many as 1,100 people seeking medical care, 48 of which were hospitalized. The explosion, which was popularly described by viewers as an incredibly bright light followed by a tremendous boom, is an incredibly rare phenomenon, at least on such a scale. Chunks of rock regularly fall to earth, but it is rare for such an object to cause this level of destruction. Despite the rarity of such cases, it only takes an object approximately 10 meters in size to create the same discharge of energy as an atomic bomb. The meteorite fell just over 24 hours before Asteroid 2012 DA14 was expected to pass by earth. The asteroid’s path was the closest an asteroid has ever passed by earth in recorded history, and the miss was confirmed at 2:25 p.m. on Friday, February 15th, 2013. According to the European Space Agency, the two incidents are completely unrelated.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor

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