While the world was getting over the fact that an asteroid was going to hit earth on the 15th of February, 2013, a part of the world was experiencing an unpredicted attack of a meteorite storm.
This day witnessed a series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals area and triggered panic and anxiety in the people across three major cities by sudden outbursts of meteorites. The witnesses said that their houses shuddered, windows ruptured and cellphones stopped working.
Reports show that this meteorite in the sky was interrupted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo at that time reportedly broke the meteorite into bits at an altitude of 20 Kilometers. An intense flash was observed in Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan.
With regards to this Meteor strike in Russia, Lifenews tabloid said that the fallen object has damaged the grounds in Chelyabinsk. The preliminary reports say that the Meteor hit into a wall of a zinc factory and also disrupted the city’s mobile service and Internet connections.
The explosion was so loud that it seemed almost like an earthquake or thunder that struck at the same time, which left a huge trail of smoke all across the sky. Others also witnessed burning objects falling to earth.
Chelyabinsk is reportedly on high alert, and the city’s police have begun ‘Operation Fortress’ with a view to protect the vital infrastructure. The office buildings in central Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. Few casualties have been reported at one of the city’s secondary schools, probably due to smashed windows. Other than this, no injuries have been reported so far.
The website of Chelyabinsk regional authority has published an emergency message and urged residents to pick up their children from schools and stay at home if possible.
The regional Emergency Ministry alleged that this phenomenon was a meteorite shower, but the locals speculated that this can be supposedly a military fighter jet crash or a missile that exploded.
“According to preliminary data, the flashes seen over the Urals were caused by a meteorite shower,” as told by the Emergency Ministry to Itar-Tass news agency. The ministry also said that no civil aircraft or local power stations have been damaged by this meteorite shower, and that all flights will proceed according to schedule.
Residents of the town Emanzhilinsk, which is 50 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk, said that they witnessed a flying object which suddenly exploded into flames, broke apart and then fell to earth, leaving behind a thick trail of black clouds dangling above the town. The city of Chelyabinsk has smelled like gunpowder since the event.
Many locals have experienced many uncertainties like their houses rattling due to explosion and windows smashing down. “This explosion, my ears popped, windows were smashed… phone doesn’t work,” Evgeniya Gabun wrote on Twitter.
“My window smashed, I am all shaking! Everybody says that a plane crashed,” Twitter user Katya Grechannikova reported.
“My windows were not smashed, but I first thought that my house is being dismantled, and then I thought it was a UFO, and my eventual thought was an earthquake,” Bukreeva Olga wrote on Twitter.
This incident has been believed to be connected to Asteroid 2012 DA14, which measures 45 to 95 meters in diameter. This will be passing by Earth tonight at 19:25 GMT at a very record-making proximity. For more information, read the previous blog post on the same.
Is it Another Tunguska Event?
The incident in Chelyabinsk reminds of a similar event of Tunguska which was remarkably a powerful explosion in Siberia. The Siberia Explosion is believed to have been caused by an asteroid or meteor strike.
According to estimates, the Tunguska Event’s intensity was extremely high i.e. 50 megatons of TNT, giving an impression of a nuclear explosion taking place. It attributed in leveling over 80 million trees and 2,000 square-kilometer area. Indeed, this event marks as a mysterious event in the history of earth that prompted an array of hypotheses on its cause, which included the wreckage of an alien spacecraft.
It is also believed that if this event took place after a span of 4 hours, it would have completely ruined the city if Vyborg and St. Petersburg due to the rotation of Earth.