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1,100 Injured as Meteorite Hits Russia with Force of Atomic Bomb

Friday, February 15, 2013

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A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb Friday, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring about 1,100 people.

The spectacle deeply frightened many Russians, with some elderly women declaring that the world was coming to an end. Many of the injured were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows, curious about what had produced such a blinding flash of light.

The meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons and 49 feet wide — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered into pieces about 18-32 miles above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement. But even small asteroids pack a tremendous punch, explained Andrew Cheng of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. 

“It doesn’t take a very large object. A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb,” Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told FoxNews.com.

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