A 10-ton meteor streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured nearly 1,100 people and frightened countless more.
The meteor that crashed to earth in Russia was about 55 feet in diameter, weighed around 10,000 tons and was made from a stony material, scientists said, making it the largest such object to hit the Earth in more than a century.
'We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years.'
- Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office
Large pieces of it have yet to be found. However, a team from Ural Federal University, which is based in Yekaterinburg, collected 53 fragments, the largest of which was 7 millimeters, according to Viktor Grokhovsky, a scientist at the university.
Data from a global network of sensors indicated that the meteor's fiery disintegration as it neared earth near Chelyabinsk, Russia, unleashed nearly 500 kilotons of energy, more than 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
It is the largest reported meteor since the one that hit Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The U.S. agency's new estimate of the meteor's size was a marked increase from its initial one.
"We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years," said Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office. "When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones."
Read more on the Russian meteorite at The Wall Street Journal.