Hundreds reportedly injured by blasts as meteor falls in Russia Fearing Asteroid to hit Earth
February 15, 2013
SIGNS IN THE USN, MOON AND STARS:
A meteor streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains on
Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and injuring more than 500
people, many of them hurt by broken glass.”There was panic. People had
no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses
to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of
Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, the biggest city in the
“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and
we heard a really loud thundering sound,” he told The Associated Press
Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women
in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.
Some meteorites — fragments of the meteor — fell in a reservoir
outside the town of Cherbakul, the regional governor’s office said,
according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear if
any people were struck by fragments.
Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the
atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of
sound. Injuries on the scale reported Friday, however, are
extraordinarily rare. The Emergency Ministry said more than 500 people
sought treatment after the blasts and that 34 of them were hospitalized.
Many of the injuries were from glass broken by the explosions.
Kolesnikov also said about 6000 square feet of a roof at a zinc
factory had collapsed. There was no immediate clarification of whether
the collapse was caused by meteorites or by a shock wave from one of the
Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear skies. A
spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The
Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry
spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as
saying it was a single meteor. Amateur video broadcast on Russian
television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m.
local time, leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.
Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before
the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an
asteroid — about 17,150 miles. But the European Space Agency, in a post
on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no
Small pieces of space debris — usually parts of comets or asteroids —
that are on a collision course with the Earth are called meteoroids.
When meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors.
Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the
frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called
The dramatic events prompted an array of reactions from prominent
Russian political figures. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at
an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the meteor
could be a symbol for the forum, showing that “not only the economy is
vulnerable, but the whole planet.”
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the nationalist leader noted for vehement
statements, said “It’s not meteors falling, it’s the test of a new
weapon by the Americans,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported. FOX NEWS
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