Pretty spectacular – and a little frightening, one might imagine, if one of these streaked across your field of vision. Russia Today’s English-language service reports on the phenomenon observed over the last several hours, which also shattered windows in the Urals region as the meteor exploded in the atmosphere (via The Corner):
The Washington Post reports hundreds of injuries have been sustained from the meteor, 34 of them seriously enough to be hospitalized:
A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 10 tons (11 tons) streaked at supersonic speed over Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more.
The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the meteor over the Chelyabinsk region entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground.
The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. The Emergency Ministry says more than 500 people sought treatment after the blasts and that 34 of them were hospitalized.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.
No one is quite sure yet whether the light and sound show came from a single meteor or from a series of them, as the Guardian reports. This video seems to indicate more than one, and gives a good idea what it sounded like to be close to the explosion:
By the way, why do so many Russians appear to have dashboard cameras in their cars? The Guardian explains that, too, by linking to Animal New York:
In Russia, everyone should have a camera on their dashboard. It’s better than keeping a lead pipe under your seat for protection (but you might still want that lead pipe) …
Psychopaths are abundant on Russian roads. You best not cut anyone off or undertake some other type of maneuver that might inconvenience the 200-pound, six-foot-five brawling children you see on YouTube hopping out of their SUVs with their dukes up… These fights happen all the time and you can’t really press charges. Point to your broken nose or smashed windows all you want. The Russian courts don’t like verbal claims. They do, however, like to send people to jail for battery and property destruction if there’s definite video proof…
Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law. Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims. Two-way insurance coverage is very expensive and almost completely unavailable for vehicles over ten years old–the drivers can only get basic liability.
Ooooooo-kay. Note to self: scratch “road trip in Urals” from bucket list.
Here are a couple more videos, and I’ll add more if and when we get a clearer view of the meteor:
Update: The injury count is rapidly rising, although it doesn’t appear to be increasing in intensity:
A meteor broke up in the sky Friday morning over the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk, and the shock wave from the explosion smashed windows, collapsed roofs and injured more than 900 people…
Regional Health Minister Marina Mokvicheva in Chelyabinsk said 985 people sought medical help for injuries and 43 were hospitalized.
The landing site for a portion of the meteor may have been found, too:
Searchers found a circular hole in the ice, several feet across, in a lake west of Chelyabinsk, and roped it off.