Created on: February 20, 2013
In an event that looked right out of a science fiction movie, on Feb. 15 Russia experienced a meteor falling that led to a large number of people being injured.
According to PBS' News Hour, the meteor had traveled at 20 miles per second before it exploded.
Initial reports said that hundreds had been hurt when the meteor hurled to the ground near Chelyabinsk, Russia, in the early hours of the day, but these numbers would later reach over 1,200 when the full impact of the meteor's crash was realized. Approximately 200 of these injuries were sustained by children as several schools were in the vicinity.
Many of the injuries were due to the powerful blasts caused by the impact, which had caused the glass in what was described as thousands of buildings to shatter. The New York Times reported that these injuries likely occurred as people looked out their windows to see what was going on as the meteor shot into the Russian Ural Mountains region.
Chelyabinsk is located about 1,000 miles west of Moscow.
Numerous motorists using car dashboard cameras caught live footage of the unusual event, capturing spectacular images of the blazing fireball that shot out of the sky and hit the ground with a remarkable stream of bright light. Videos can be seen on YouTube.
Newsday (via the Associated Press), reported that the explosion's strength was calculated to be approximately as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs; other reports placed the impact as strong as 30x of that bomb.
NASA indicated that the giant piece of space rock weighed in the neighborhood of between 7,000 and 10,000 tons.
After the crash, cleanup in the region commenced and many of the schools and hospitals affected by the blast were restored and reopened, Russian media outlet RIA Novosti reported on Feb. 17, 2013.
“All the medical, educational and social buildings have been restored. Studies at all children’s educational institutions in the Chelyabinsk Region will continue on Monday,” Russia's consumer rights watchdog had said in a statement.
In the days after the meteor crashed into the region, scientists sought answers. Over the weekend, it was confirmed that scientists had recovered from fragments from the meteor, reported ABC News. The fragment was found near a giant hole that had punctured the ice in a lake.
Many people have also been claiming to have found pieces of the meteor and are putting them up for sale, reported Business Week. Officials are warning buyers to beware of fake fragments.
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