First Russian Chelyabinsk meteor study findings available

The brightness, heat, damage and other aspects of the "ordinary chondrite" meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia last February have been studied by an international team of researchers, including Olga Popova of the Russian Academy of Sciences and peter Jenniskens of NASA.

"Our goal was to understand all circumstances that resulted in the damaging shock wave that sent over 1200 people to hospitals in the Chelyabinsk Oblast area that day," said Jenniskens.

The explosion was 150 times bigger than the Sutter's Mill meteorite in California in 2012, equivalent to roughly 600 thousand tons of TNT.

"Shockwaves from the airburst broke windows, rattled buildings and even knocked people from their feet," Phys.org wrote.

"Popova and Jenniskens visited over 50 villages in the area and found that the shockwave caused damage about 90 kilometers (50 miles) on either side of the trajectory."

UC Davis scholar and study participant Qing-Zhu Yin said the event should be considered a 'wake up call':

"If humanity does not want to go the way of the dinosaurs, we need to study an event like this in detail."

4 cm diameter, with shock veins. Credit: Phys.org

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