We have breaking news. If you haven’t seen the news, social media, or our EinC Dave Peterson’s middle of the night post, a meteor exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains region of Russia. It happened at 9:20 in the morning local time. The meteor was 10 tons, the weight of a small city bus. When it exploded, it resembled a small nuclear detonation.
The airblast explosion caused a shockwave which shattered roughly 1 million feet of glass throughout the city. As of right now, approximately 1,200 people are reported injured, but there are no reported deaths. The airblast might have actually been beneficial to the town. The area was a major site of Soviet plutonium production and is considered highly contaminated.
For those wondering, this event has no known connection to the DA14 asteroid that passes close to earth today. That much larger stellar object is still expected to miss. The two events happening on the same day may just be a major slice of cosmic irony. No additional meteor or asteroid related impacts are expected. While these events are extremely rare, Russia is no stranger to them. A large meteor or small asteroid is the leading theory behind the Tunguska event in 1908
Check out this report from CBS (Flash video only).
We’ll have more info and videos coming to you as this story develops. Also, you can expect it to come up during our GeekBeat show at 4pm EST
NBC News is reporting that the meteor exploded with a force of of 0.5 megatons or 30 more powerful than the “little boy” device used on Hiroshima. Size estimates place it at 55ft wide and 10,000 tons before entering the atmosphere. NASA has categorized this as a 100 year event.