As many of you know, Earth constantly is being pelted by rocks falling from space, so the meteor that struck in Russia's central Ural Mountains on Friday wasn't unusual. What was unusual was that people got hurt. Reports cite anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people injured, most suffering cuts caused by windows breaking after falling debris triggered explosions. Hopefully nobody was hurt seriously and there were no fatalities. The 11-ton meteor, which entered Earth's atmosphere at more than 30,000 miles per hour and reportedly landed in a lake, also caused damage to buildings in six cities in the Chelyabinsk region. Interestingly, the meteor landed just 3,000 miles west of the largest "impact event" ever, when in 1908 a meteor caused a 10-megaton explosion in Tunguska, Russia, that destroyed 830 square miles of trees (but miraculously hurt no one). There's some spectacular video below of Friday's meteor hurtling through Earth's atmosphere to impact, but first I wanted to share information from NASA about cases in which people have been hurt by falling meteors. As I said, it appears to be rare:
There are only a few documented cases on record [of people being injured or killed by meteorites]. A shower of stones fell upon Nakhla, near Alexandria, Egypt on 28 June 1911, one of which allegedly killed a dog. On 30 November 1954, Mrs. Hewlett Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama was severely bruised by an 8 pound stony meteorite that crashed through her roof. This is the first known human injury.
If there are cases NASA is missing, let me know. While there has been speculation that the meteor is related to the asteroid fly-by of Earth today, USA Today notes that "the Russian meteor landed in the Northern hemisphere while Asteroid 2012 DA14 is approaching from the direction of the South Pole, arguing against a connection." Here are the videos, some of which were captured by people with smartphones/tablets/video cameras, others by security cameras. If the video below doesn't show up in your browser, here's a link to it.
Now read this: