A meteorite weighing about 10 tons fell through the atmosphere with an explosion that rocked Russia’s Ural mountain region Friday. The powerful blast occurred about 9:20 a.m. local time.
In response, a state of emergency was declared. President Vladimir Putin ordered the Emergency Situations Minister to support those affected.
Army units have found three meteorite impact debris sites. Two of these
are near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The other is 80 kilometers to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust.
“The light was so intense that it completely illuminated the courtyard
of our apartment block,” said Sergei Zakharov, head of the Russian
Geographical Society in Chelyabinsk.
Approximately 1,000 people have been injured in Chelyabinsk alone
because of the disaster, according to the region’s governor, Mikhail
Yurevich. The Emergency Ministry reports that 159 children are included among the injured.
Nearly 3,000 buildings were damaged by the meteor shower in the city,
including 34 medical facilities and 361 schools. Most of the damage was due to shattered glass. The administration head, Sergey Davydov stated that no local power station or civil aircraft were damaged.
An asteroid, know as 2012 DA14, was expected to pass close to Earth
Friday, NASA reported. It is not clear whether the meteorite even in the
Ural Mountains was related.
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