Russian scientists are investigating the meteorite explosion in the Ural’s region, which injured nearly 1200 people today. It made a sonic boom in the atmosphere, and that hit buildings and shattered windows. Chelyabinsk residents reported shaking ground, windows being shattered and car alarms being set off during the shower.
The object was identified as a solitary 10 ton bolide by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN). Bolides are large meteors that explode in the lower atmosphere and they are very bright .
The Chelyabinsk fireball entered the atmosphere moving at a speed of about 20 km/s. The body of several meters in diameter then burst into pieces at the height of 30-50 km above the ground, RAN reported. Three consecutive explosions shattered the body further. Large fragments moving at high speed caused a powerful flash and a strong blast wave, with most energy released at a height of 5 to 15 km, RAN added.
Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter. “The meteorite that passed over the Chelyabinsk region fell into a body of water 1km from the city of Chebarkul,” said a statement posted on the website of Chelyabinsk governor, Mikhail Yurevich.
There were some unconfirmed reports in Russia Today, that the meteorite was intercepted by Russian air defense. UPDATE: The regional Emergency Ministry DENIED previous unconfirmed reports by local media that the meteorite was shot by the military air defenses. The local newspaper Znak reported the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. Quoting a source in the military, it wrote a missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers. Regnum news agency quoted a military source who claimed that the vapor condensation trail of the meteorite speaks to the fact that the meteorite was intercepted by air defenses.
While most of the object burned down during the fall, the remaining parts showered over the region.The actual power of the blast is still being discussed.
The meteorite is believed to have caused no significant pollution.
According to RT.com, the Urals regional centre of the Emergency Ministry claimed it sent out a mass text message warning residents about a possible meteorite shower. But eyewitnesses said they either never received it, or got the message after the explosion had already occurred. UPDATE: The Emergency Ministry has since denied sending out the SMS warning, and said the spokesperson that spread the false information “will be fired”.
Chelyabinsk regional governor Mikhail Yurevich said that preserving the city’s central heating system is authorities’ primary goal.
“Do not panic, this is an ordinary situation we can manage in a couple of days,” the governor said in and address to city residents.
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