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Stratospheric Explosion in Russian Urals Damages Buildings in 6 Cities

Posted by feww on February 15, 2013

Hundreds injured amid stratospheric explosion above Russian Urals

An explosion in the stratosphere, said to have been caused by a meteor, has rocked the Russian Urals.

Many residents in Chelyabinsk (population: ~ 1.2 million), the largest city in the affected region, located 1,500 km east of Moscow, reported that the shockwave had rattled their homes, smashing windows, knocking out the phone system, and leaving the air smell like gunpowder.

  • The meteoroid weighed about 10 tons before entering Earth’s atmosphere, traveling at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s, Russian Academy of Sciences has estimated.
  • A bright flash was observed in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan, RT reported.
  • About 1,200 people have been injured, including at least 950 people in Chelyabinsk.
  • Some 160 children are among the injured.
  • “According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite. It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.” Russian space agency Roskosmos has said. confirming that the object that crashed in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite, RT reported.
  • The meteor shower and the shockwave have damaged about 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk, including 34 medical facilities and 361 schools, shattering about 100,000 square meters of window glass and leaving 450 other buildings without natural gas supply, because of the damage to the city’s distribution facilities, Russia 24 news channel quoted officials as saying.

“The impact wave damaged several buildings, and blew out thousands of windows amid frigid winter weather. Hundreds are seeking medical attention for minor injuries.” said a report.

“According to unconfirmed reports, the [meteor] was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo blew the [meteor] to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers, local newspaper Znak reports quoting a source in the military.” RT said.

“According to preliminary data, the flashes seen over the Urals were caused by [a] meteorite [sic] shower,” the Emergency Ministry told Itar-Tass news agency.

“Radiation, chemical and biological protection units have been put on high alert. Since the explosion occurred several kilometers above the Earth, a large ground area must be thoroughly checked for radiation and other threats.”

Some 20,000 rescue workers are searching the region and 3 aircraft have been deployed to survey the area and pinpoint all impact locations, RT reported the Russian Emergency Ministry as saying.

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