Meteor Blast Biggest In 100 Years
The Russia meteor blast was the biggest in 100 years, according to Peter Brown, the director of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
The dramatic explosion and resulting shockwave damaged hundreds of buildings and injured more than 1,000 people.
The object that created the explosion was probably about 50 feet wide and weighed about 7,000 tons before the blast, reports Yahoo! News.
It is believed that the total energy expended during the event was about 300 kilotons of TNT-equivalent, though the number could change as scientists learn more.
Even if the number is off by a factor of two, it is still the largest recorded event of its kind since 1908. An estimated 130-foot-wide object exploded over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia in 1908. The event flattened roughly 825 square miles of forest.
Data on what could be the biggest meteor blast in 100 years is still rough, according to Brown. Space.com notes that he added, “I fully expect revision of some of the numbers … particularly the estimate of the yield.”
The main meteor blast was at 10:20 pm EST on February 14. The object was traveling at roughly 40,260 miles per hour when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. Brown believes that the explosion occurred “almost directly over Chelaybinsk.”
Other large meteor explosions in the past include the Sikhote-Alin meteorite impact in 1947 in the former Soviet Union, as well as the October 2009 Indonesia event, which occurred over the ocean.
Video footage was taken of the event, which has no reported casualties so far. The potential biggest meteor blast in 100 years occurred just hours before the 150-foot-wide asteroid 2012 DA14 cruised within 17,200 miles of Earth. NASA researchers say the two events were not related.