Meteorite fragments rain down on Russia: 1100 injuries reported; force of an atomic bomb

Friday, February 15, 2013
By Paul Martin

TheExtinctionProtocol.com
February 15, 2013

SIBERIA – Bright objects, tentatively identified as fragments of a meteorite, streaked through the sky in western Siberia early on Friday, accompanied by a boom that damaged buildings across a vast swath of territory. Around 500 people were reported to have been injured, most from breaking glass. Emergency officials had reported no deaths by Friday afternoon but said that 14 people had been hospitalized. Yelena Smirnykh, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Emergency Situations, told Ekho Moskvy radio that she believed the meteorite broke apart and fell in several places. Another government expert, who spoke to Moscow FM radio station, said he believed it may have been a bolide, a type of fireball meteor that explodes in the earth’s atmosphere because of its composition or angle of entry and can be observed from the ground. However, the governor of the Chelyabinsk district reported that a search team had found an impact crater on the outskirts of a city about 50 miles west of Chelyabinsk, which would indicate the meteor did not explode in the atmosphere. An official from the Interior Ministry told Interfax that three large pieces of meteorite debris had been retrieved in the area and that 10,000 police officers are searching for more. A small asteroid, known as 2012 DA14, is expected to pass close to earth later on Friday, NASA reported on its Web site. It was not clear whether the meteorite event in the Ural Mountains was in anyway related. Video clips from the city of Chelyabinsk showed an early morning sky illuminated by a brilliant flash, followed by the sound of breaking glass and multiple car alarms. Meteorites typically cause sonic booms as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. On Friday, the force was powerful enough to shatter dishes and televisions in people’s homes. “I saw a flash in the window, turned toward it and saw a burning cloud, which was surrounded by smoke and was going downward – it reminded me of what you see after an explosion,” said Maria Polyakova, 25, head of reception at the Park-City Hotel in Chelyabinsk, which is 950 miles east of Moscow. A video made outside a building in Chelyabinsk captured the astonished voices of witnesses who were uncertain what it was they had just seen. “Maybe it was a rocket,” said one man, who rushed outside onto the street along with his co-workers when the object hit, far out of sight. A man named Artyom, who spoke to the Moscow FM radio station, said the explosion was enormous. “I was sitting at work and the windows lit up and it was as if the whole city was illuminated, and I looked out and saw a huge streak in the sky and it was like that for two or three minutes and then I heard these noises, like claps,” he said. “And then all the dogs started barking.” He said that there was a blast that caused balconies to shake and windows to shatter. He said he did not believe it was a meteorite. “We are waiting for a second piece, that is what people are talking about now,” he said. There were reports that falling objects were visible as far away as Yekaterinburg, 125 miles southeast of Chelyabinsk. The government response on Friday was huge. Seven airplanes were deployed to search for places where meteorites might have fallen and more than 20,000 people dispatched to comb the area on foot, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. There were also 28 sites designated to monitor radiation. No unusual readings had been detected, the ministry reported. The area around Chelyabinsk is also home to “dozens of defense factories, including nuclear factories and those involved in production of thermonuclear weapons,” said Vladimir Lipunov, an astrophysicist at the Shternberg State Astronomy Institute. –NY Times

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