In the morning of 15 February, at about 9.20 a.m. people in the Chelyabinsk Region witnessed an unusual space phenomenon – a meteor fall. Later NASA researchers estimated the size of the “alien”. Entering the atmosphere of the Earth the asteroid was about 17 meters in diameter and weighed 10 thousand tons. Travelling at a speed of about 18 km per second, the space rock disintegrated approximately 32 seconds later, breaking into small fragments and causing a tremendous blast. The shockwave was powerful enough to blow in windows and doors in houses in the Chelyabinsk Region. Over 1,600 persons were injured, mainly from shattered window glass. In this emergency people needed medical aid. Fortunately, nobody was killed.
Right after the burst with the energy of around 400 kilotons of TNT, according to different estimates, various rumors of what happened were circulating: from a crashed airplane to meteor shower. However, a few hours later there was no shadow of doubt – it was a huge meteor. Facts to compare: the energy released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima on August 06, 1945, was 21 kilotons.
Entering the atmosphere of the Earth, the meteor disintegrated into millions of pieces which were then scattered on the whole territory of the region. The largest chunk weighing 570 kg fell into a lake not far from Chelyabinsk. It has been pulled out and given to a local museum for permanent custody. Over 1 thousand visitors come to see it every day.
Today, the damage caused by the blast has been repaired, and nothing reminds about its aftermath. City residents have decided to preserve the memory of the event for future generations through the construction of a park for lovers of extreme adventure and fun in 2014.
Scientists continue researching the lifted meteor chunk. They even managed to find out its age – the piece is over 4.5 billion years old. Thus, Chelyabinsk meteor is as old as the Solar system, and it traveled to the Earth about 1.2 million of years. The meteor is classified as a typical chondrite, it is composed of iron, olivine, sulphites. It was discovered that the meteor had a little amount of water that eventually could have caused the blast.
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