At about 9:20am local time (5:20am GMT), a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded above the Ural Mountains in Russia, injuring more than 900 people. The injuries were mostly due to ear drum damage, broken glass, and other debris caused by a shock-wave.
“Fragments of the meteor fell in a thinly populated area of the Chelyabinsk region, the Russian Emergency Ministry said in a statement. Authorities in Chelyabinsk said the blast had been heard at an altitude of 10,000 metres (32,800ft), suggesting it occurred when the meteor or meteors entered the earth’s atmosphere” (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/15/meteorite-explodes-over-russian-urals-live-updates).
When the asteroid hit the earth’s atmosphere, it was going so fast that it was as if it hit a brick wall. The subsequent explosion caused at least one shockwave (there may have been more than one explosion from fragments) and that’s what caused the damage. The damage included more than smashed windows. It buckled shop fronts, set off car alarms, disrupted mobile phone signals, and a wall was damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant as seen in the video.
Connected to Asteroid 2012 DA14?
(What is Asteroid 2012 DA14? See previous posts Asteroid 2012DA14 to Shoot through Near Earth Orbit and Asteroid 2012DA14 – Update.)
This meteor does not seem to be connected to Asteroid 2012 DA14. The Earth travels 66,611 miles in its orbit every hour, so the Earth was 932,554 miles away from tonight’s encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14 – almost four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It is unlikely that this meteor was a fragment of 2012 DA14.
REPOST: What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).