Researchers have concluded that that Russian meteorite from earlier this year sent a shock wave that traveled around the world—twice. The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. Let that sink in. It’s estimated that the explosive energy was equivalent to about 460 kilotonnes of TNT, or 30 times the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Scientists haven’t seen such an enormous energetic event since the 1908 Tunguska meteor in Siberia, BBC said.
When the meteorite broke through the Earth’s atmosphere, the 10,000 ton rock was apparently traveling at around 11 miles per second—that’s about 40,000 miles per hour. Taking all those stats into account, the force created by the Russian rock is really no surprise. But it’s still incredibly fascinating, and truly remarkable that more damage wasn’t done.
That Tunguska event? It reportedly produced a blast hundreds of times more energetic than the Hiroshima explosion, decimating the surrounding forest. So while the event from earlier this year sounds horrific and insane, it wasn’t even the worst we’ve seen in the last 100+ years. Lets hope NASA and the scientific community can detect all near-Earth asteroids going forward, otherwise one simple bus-sized space rock has the potential to do unbelievable damage.