On 15 February 2013, a large meteor stretching almost about 19 metres in diameter and weighing 12,000 tonnes was speeding towards earth at 65,000 kilometres per hour. It entered the earth’s atmosphere over Siberia, Russia.
Near Chelyabinsk, Ural Federal District, Russia, February 2013
90% silicate, 5% sulfide and 5% iron-nickel
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The shock wave generated by the meteor explosion was so powerful that it travelled twice around the globe.
National Museums Scotland recently acquired a fragment from Anne Black of Denver, Colorado, to add to the meteorite collection.
The explosion took place over the snow covered city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, near the border with Kazakhstan.
“The asteroid passed about 40 km south of the Chelyabinsk city center... A few rocky remnants continued to move westward, the smallest on paths that were altered by the wind as they fell; the largest landed 30 km farther in Lake Chebarkul at the foot of the Ural Mountains.
For a moment, the light from the fireball shone brighter than the sun. Some witnesses also reported feeling intense heat as it fell. The heat caused by friction generated huge internal pressures eventually causing the meteor to explode.
The explosion created a huge cloud of dust and gas, followed by a massive shock wave and a huge amount of meteor fragments.
The impact of this meteorite caused destruction around the city. The shockwave was powerful enough to injure around 1,500 people and shatter more than 3,600 windows in apartments and commercial buildings. The damage to the city was estimated at 1 billion Rubles (£11million).
Falling meteors are statistically random and hundreds of meteorites fall on us all over Earth, most of which fall in the ocean. The Cheylabinsk Meteorite falling in 2013 was the most dramatic near-Earth asteroid airburst since the 1908 Tunguska impact blast in Siberia.