Meteor Explodes Over Russia, Injuring Hundreds
Imagine you’re sitting in your house playing some Halo 4, your spirits and energy high, when, all of a sudden, the one remotely cool part of Michael Bay’s Transformer films starts playing out right before your very eyes. A speck of light grows larger and larger, moving impossibly fast across the sky, then suddenly explodes into flames. Sadly, Steve Jablonsky’s wonderful “Arrival to Earth” isn’t playing and Bumblebee isn’t going to emerge out of a swimming pool. Instead, a blast with the power of multiple nuclear warheads is going to explode overhead, damaging unknown numbers of buildings, injuring a thousand people, and setting off countless car alarms in an audio assault not unlike something Skrillex would release to much acclaim from 14-year-olds.
According to BBC News, at least 950 people were hurt when the meteor crashed in the Ural mountains, part of the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. Thankfully, the vast majority of the injuries were minor cuts and bruises. Chelyabinsk is over 900 miles east of Moscow, but Russian president Vladimir Putin promised that aid would be immediate. Although most videos of the incident came from car dashboard cameras, a growing fad in Russia due to crazy road conditions that often result in enormous wrecks, there are some videos from inside buildings as glass shattered. One video shows schoolchildren reacting to the loud explosion and resulting shock wave that shattered glass in their school.
Weighing 10 tons and moving at 33,000 mph when it entered Earth’s atmosphere, the meteor left an enormous trail of smoke behind it as it broke up in the sky. Although resulting meteorites did fall in the Chelyabinsk region, causing some of the injuries, no major pieces hit in any populated areas, a fact for which Putin says he “thanks God” (BBC News).
Predictably, one Russian lawmaker claimed the meteor wasn’t actually a meteor but instead a United States weapons test. Another false theory was that a Russian surface-to-air missile silo had blown the meteor out of the sky, resulting in the explosion. The truth, though, is that this is just an extremely rare occurrence and for once we have video documentation of the meteor’s incredible force. Talking to BBC News, one astrophysics professor noted that this meteor is unrelated to the 2012 DA14 asteroid that was being tracked and passed by the Earth a mere matter of hours after the incident in the Ural mountains.
So, while many of us might have hoped to see the Son of Krypton emerge from the meteor crash site unscathed or for the infamously out-there Vladimir Putin to take credit for the event in some bizarre story of his supposed greatness, in the end, this is just a freak occurrence that left many injured, though thankfully not seriously for the most part. It’s a good thing so many people in the area had cameras on them, otherwise we might not have gotten to witness the incredible footage that’s made its way onto the internet.