Moscow, Feb 17 (): Meteor that splashed across the skies over Russia on Friday has injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes. The fireball exploded with a force about 30 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb, NASA scientists said.
The meteor was a 55-foot rock with a mass of 10,000 tonnes, that plunged to Earth in the Urals region on Friday morning, shortly after 9 am. local time, and caused shock waves. The meteor is likely made of stony materials and not solid metal; as pressure and friction from the atmosphere increased, it exploded into fragments at a height of about 50 km above the Earth.
The fragments hit several regions of Kazakhstan and Siberia, with Chelyabinsk, a city with a population of 1.12 million people about 1500 km east of Moscow, suffering largest damage.
Amateur videos taken in and near Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains showed an unbelievably bright fireball moving across the sky, leaving a thick white smoke stream, followed by numerous powerful blasts.
The interior ministry said the meteor explosion is a very rare spectacle and it exploded with a sonic boom. One piece of meteorite broke through the ice of nearby Cherbakul Lake, leaving a hole several metres wide.
This astonishing event destroyed windows of more than 4,000 buildings in the region, mainly in the capital city. Although no deaths were reported as a consequence of the meteorite, the people were injured largely with the cuts caused from the flying glass.
Fortunately, the fragments of the meteor missed the main regions of Chelyabinsk and crashed in a thinly populated area about 200 km away.
A small army of workers are put to work to replace the estimated 200,000 square meters (50 acres) of windows crushed by the shock waves from the meteor.
NASA estimated that the energy released by the meteor’s impact with the atmosphere was 500 kilo-tonnes, around 30 times the force of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.