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
Huge Meteor Rocks Russia
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)

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." (More Russia stories.)

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