Russian meteor strike injures 500

AP
In this photo a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 7:33 AM
Last updated 2:35 PM
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 MOSCOW -- A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 11 tons streaked at supersonic speed over Russia’s Ural Mountains today, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more.

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AP
A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb Friday, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring nearly 1,000 people. (AP Photo)

The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the meteor over the Chelyabinsk region entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered about 18-32 miles above ground.

The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. The Emergency Ministry says more than 500 people sought treatment after the blasts and that 34 of them were hospitalized.

“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 affected region.

“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 by telephone.

Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.

Some fragments 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.

The agency also cited military spokesman Yarslavl Roshupkin as saying that a six-meter-wide crater was found in the same area which could be the result of fragments striking the ground.

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.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said that about 600 square meters 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 explosions.

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.

Donald Yeomans, manager of U.S. Near Earth Object Program in California, said he thought the event was probably “an exploding fireball event.”

“If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs. the trailing side (it pancaked and exploded),” Yeoman said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

“It is far too early to provide estimates of the energy released or provide a reliable estimate of the original size,” Yeomans added.

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 (28,000 kilometers).

But the European Space Agency, in a post on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no connection.

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 meteorites.

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.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

“At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies” to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

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Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 02/15/13 - 09:01 am
3
1
A precarious life we live.

A precarious life we live. That asteroid slamming into Jupiter a few years ago that NASA caught on video would have disintegrated earth. If this thing had been a little bigger, I wouldn't have rotated my tires this month. Asteroid tomorrow? It only gets better. Who was that wanting a Bloody Mary for breakfast? Pour me one, too.

soapy_725
43553
Points
soapy_725 02/15/13 - 09:23 am
0
0
Ivan probably thought it was an American Nuclear Attack
Unpublished

Wonder if they have practiced for this event near their dams?

We have Apache helicopters zooming over Thurmond Lake the last couple of days?

Panic. You say panic. War of the World's 1930's radio broadcast. Now that was panic. And our government took note of same.

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 02/15/13 - 09:23 am
3
3
Humans could probably survive

Humans could probably survive the kind of strike that wiped out the dinosaurs; but it would probably decimate most of the human race from the resulting famine and infighting over the scant food resources.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 02/15/13 - 09:36 am
3
3
IAD, yeah, there would be

IAD, yeah, there would be about 3 people left in a cave in Georgia. Hopefully, if I were one there would be plenty of booze and the other two were Kate Upton and Kate Upton.

bclicious
619
Points
bclicious 02/15/13 - 09:59 am
2
2
I know this one!

Oh, oh; I have seen this one before! It is either the one where we need to send up Bruce Willis to stop the big asteroid from hitting the earth, or it is the one where Flash Gordon is gonna save every one of us!

concercitizen
340
Points
concercitizen 02/15/13 - 10:08 am
3
3
Riverman1:make that four of

Riverman1:make that four of us in a cave, and I will settle for one of the Kate Upton's!

SFCRET85
4998
Points
SFCRET85 02/15/13 - 06:39 pm
1
0
The NRA has just issued a
Unpublished

The NRA has just issued a press release stating that full automatic gunfire is needed to shoot these down.
YeeHaw

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 02/15/13 - 06:51 pm
3
0
LOL @ Jake

Yea, and a shipload of fruit of the looms while you are at it. My wife and I were just chuckling about "The Mothership" coming in. I can imagine the Russians thinking Armageddon was upon them; I think I would have.

Jokes aside, I bet some of those poor people will have nightmares.

AutumnLeaves
5988
Points
AutumnLeaves 02/15/13 - 11:43 pm
1
0
Yes.

I'm sure there are many of us on this planet that will have nightmares. Especially people that were injured (other media say more like 1100 people were injured) and their family and friends. As well as anyone else that noticed this happened.

KSL
121402
Points
KSL 02/16/13 - 07:55 am
3
2
I object to the wording of

I object to the wording of the headline! It impacted Russian, but it was not a "Russian meteor." What on earth has happened to education?

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/16/13 - 08:57 am
1
2
Armageddon?(itsanotherday's comment)

Armageddon will be in Jerusalem(when it does happen, because of "who" will be there). Hemingog will be what happens to Communist Russia and her allies(soooo many) that do not believe GOD is real!

CobaltGeorge
149956
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/16/13 - 09:09 am
1
2
Russia Is Like America

Don't let a bad incident go to waste.

Some of their propaganda radio stations was broadcasting that it was a new weapon that America had developed.

KSL
121402
Points
KSL 02/16/13 - 03:38 pm
0
1
CG

So some of the Russian media were saying, "Is this the 'more flexibility' Obama was talking about?" Spoken by my husband who needs target practice, by the way.

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