MOSCOW (CBS NEWS) – A meteor streaked through the sky and exploded Friday over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring almost 1,000 people. The spectacle deeply frightened thousands, with some elderly women declaring the world was coming to an end.
The meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered about 18-32 miles above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
It released the energy of several kilotons above the Chelyabinsk region, the academy said.
Amateur videos broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time, just after sunrise, leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.
The explosions broke an estimated 1 million square feet of glass, city officials said.
Russia’s Interfax news agency said close to 1,000 people sought medical care after the explosions and most were injured by shards of glass, according to officials. Athletes at a city sports arena were among those cut up by the flying glass. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by space fragments.
Dr. Marc Hairston from the University of Texas at Dallas joins KRLD