In what sounds like the beginning of a disaster movie but is actually real life, a meteor exploded over the Ural Mountains in Russia on Friday (Feb. 15) morning. About 1000 people were reported injured following a blast that was powerful enough to break windows and damage structures.
The meteor was spotted streaking through the sky at 9:20am local time. Several amateur video recordings give a view of a bright light streaking across the sky before suddenly growing intensely bright. Chelyabinsk, the largest city in the region, reported a booming noise a couple of minutes later. It was sufficiently intense that glass shattered and car alarms went off.
Fortunately, most of the injured received only cuts and bruises from broken material. According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, 43 of the injured were hospitalized while about 3000 buildings were damaged.
While the explosion and the meteor’s trip through the atmosphere combined to destroy much of the space rock, reports indicate that several small meteoroid fragments have been found. One site of impact apparently created an almost 30-foot crater and sent up a burst of ice and steam.
In case you were wondering, this particular meteor was not massive enough to cause widespread destruction under any circumstances. Most objects of this size fail to make it through the atmosphere at all — and it takes a much larger meteor (this one is estimated to weigh only about 10 tons) to put larger areas in danger.
It does put on a good show though.