Residents of Russia’s Ural Mountains region had a bit of a shock Friday morning as the caught video of a 10-ton meteor exploding over the region damaging buildings and injuring 950 people.
As most eyes are focused on the approach of asteroid 2012 DA14 due to pass the Earth later today, another space rock made its presence known in Russia today. On Friday morning at around 9:20 a.m. local time, a 10-ton meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere traveling at approximately 33,000 mph. The object exploded at around 18 to 32 miles above the surface and rained down debris over the area shattering windows, causing roofs to collapse and around 950 people to head to the hospital for treatment.
According to reports from Russia, of the 950 people that sought treatment after the blast, only 34 were admitted to hospitals for further care. It is not known at this time if any of them were hit by debris from the meteor itself. According to the BBC, the majority do, however, appear to be injured by falling glass that came from the shockwaves.
According to Fox News, 6,000 square feet of a zinc factory roof collapsed during the event. It is not yet known if it was caused due to a direct impact or by shockwaves from the explosions.
Near the town of Cherbakul, fragments from the meteor are known to have landed in a nearby reservoir, and possibly left a 20-foot-wide crater.
Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office spoke with Space.com about what exactly the object may have been. ”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).” He went on to add, “It is far too early to provide estimates of the energy released or provide a reliable estimate of the original size.”
Although the timing may lead you to think otherwise, at this time scientists are confident that this event is not related to the passby of 2012 DA14 scheduled for later today.