As my San Diego compatriot Dean Riehm notes: Russia has become to meteors/meteorites what trailer parks have been to tornadoes.
Yesterday, a space object thought to be a “tiny asteroid” exploded over the Russia. The ensuing shock wave shattered glass throughout the region, injuring over 1000 people.
“When I saw some white narrow cloud moving outside the window, I ran up to it and saw a huge blinding flash,” Nadezhda Golovko, deputy head of Chelyabinsk Secondary School No. 130, said in a phone interview.
“It was the way I would imagine a nuclear bomb. At first, there was no sound at all, as if I suddenly went deaf. Then I started hearing loud sounds of something exploding, four or five, one after another, and then the school windows started breaking,” she said.
More than 1,100 people had been treated for injuries by late Friday, with about 50 hospitalized, Marina Moskvicheva, a spokeswoman for the Chelyabinsk regional health department, told Interfax.
U.S. scientists estimated that the object measured about 45 feet across, weighed about 10,000 tons and was traveling about 40,000 mph.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite event, as it is likely to be known, is the last in some history-making meteor strikes for that region. Many readers recall the famous 1908 Tunguska strike, the largest impact event during recorded history that occurred when a stone-based meteor exploded over Siberia (click here for a fascinating documentary).
Still, meteor strikes haven’t been entirely unkind to Russia. Ian Steadman of Wired.uk.com reports that trillions of carats of diamonds are located under a Russian asteroid crater:
The Russian government has revealed that a vast quantity of high-quality diamonds rests beneath a Siberian impact crater, numbering in the “trillions of carats”.
The Popigai crater, 100km-wide and located in the isolated north of the country, was formed roughly 35.7 million years ago by the impact of an asteroid estimated to be between five and eight kilometres wide. Its collision created a wealth of impact diamonds — which form when an existing diamond seam is hit by a large falling body — in such quantities that could, it is claimed, supply the world diamond market for the next 3,000 years.
And while my home state of California is more noted for its earthquakes, last night reports came in of a cosmic show seen over San Fransisco:
Experts believe a “sporadic meteor” caused a fireball to streak across the western California sky Friday night, according to NBC’s Bay Area affiliate.
A bright flash of light was first reported in Santa Rosa, Calif., around 7:45 p.m., and was seen as far south as San Jose and Morgan Hill.
Sadly, I don’t think it landed with diamonds that could help this state out with its fiscal problems.