Huge Meteor Rocks Russia

950 hurt, 110 hospitalized amid bomb-like damage

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 15, 2013 5:40 AM CST | Updated Feb 15, 2013 7:57 AM CST

(Newser) – A meteor that shattered over Chelyabinsk, Russia, today injured some 950 people, with more than 110 hospitalized, RT reports. Several victims are said to be in "grave" condition, RIA Novosti reports. The 10-ton meteor was traveling at least 33,000mph when it entered the atmosphere, experts say, according to the AP. The explosion occurred between 18 and 32 miles from ground level near the Ural Mountains. Shockwaves damaged buildings, the BBC reports, breaking glass that caused most of the injuries. Some meteorites—fragments from the meteor—eventually landed near a lake. As the AP explains, meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of sound. But widespread meteor-related injuries like today's are very rare.

"There was a very loud noise, similar to the roar of an airplane, and then a detonation and the shattering of glass," said a student at one of a pair of schools where some 20 kids were hurt. "We had the feeling that something very large had landed in the neighboring courtyard." A zinc factory looked like a bomb had hit it, der Spiegel reports. One of the craters left by a meteorite measures nearly 20 feet in diameter, and almost 3,000 buildings were damaged to some extent. Fortunately, the object was actually on the smaller side, says an expert; a larger one could cause damage "worse than a nuclear explosion."

In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)
In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, a meteorite contrail is seen.
In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, a meteorite contrail is seen.   (AP Photo/Nasha gazeta, www.ng.kz)
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)
In this photo provided by E1.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over a vilage of Bolshoe Sidelnikovo 50 km of Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
In this photo provided by E1.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over a vilage of Bolshoe Sidelnikovo 50 km of Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/ Nadezhda Luchinina, E1.ru)
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a woman cleans away glass debris from a window after a meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a woman cleans away glass debris from a window after a meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/ Yevgenia Yemelyanova, Chelyabinsk.ru)
In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a minivan passes a zinc factory building with about 6000 square feet of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a minivan passes a zinc factory building with about 6000 square feet of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/Valentin Kazakov)
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building.
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building.   (AP Photo/ Oleg Kargapolov, Chelyabinsk.ru)
Map locates Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a meteor caused explosions in the area;
Map locates Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a meteor caused explosions in the area;   (AP)
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