Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meteor Explosion Over Russia's Ural Mountains

You're likely aware that this morning at 9:00 local time, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk (pronounced Chel-YA-beensk), a city in the southern Ural Mountains of Russia. According to RT news, 300 buildings were damaged and 514 persons need medical care, mostly for injuries from flying glass. 

For some geographical perspective, here's a high-tech map for you: Because of course you deserve to know. ;)

So here's Russia: Click photo to enlarge. The red marker is pointing to Moscow. The orange sticky-note is pointing to Chelyabinsk, site of today's drama, some 930 miles east-southeast of Moscow. The green marker points to Rostov-on-Don, 650 miles south of Moscow and my home-sweet-home. That blue sticker points to lots more drama; we'll get to that in a minute.

First, here's a great video of highlights thanks to RT, Russia Today.

Interesting: I'm watching, more or less, РОССИЯ24, Russia's 24-hour news channel. This story is the only thing on the news.

But not everyone is convinced that today's phenomenon was a meteor. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a politician with ideas of his own, claims the explosion was the US testing weapons. Bless his heart. Makes you wonder what he had for breakfast. Here's more on his theory.

Now, a look back to the last exploding meteor to hit the earth which also hit Russia. Thanks to the Smithsonian Institute for twittering today about the Tunguska Event, which hit Siberia in 1908, leveling forests for 800 square miles.

Here's our trusty map (Click to enlarge). The blue sticker points to Tunguska, an area 1,500 miles east of today's drama and 2,400 miles east of Moscow, according to my figuring.

While today's explosion was significant, it pales in comparison with the Tunguska Event. The Smithsonian story quotes NASA's calculations that the Tunguska explosion was equivalent to 185 Hiroshima bombs.

Have to admit, the first I heard of this was after coming to Russia. Actually it was in 2008, with the 100th anniversary of the event, I wrote,  I Feel the Earth Move...with a nod to Carol King's song of the 1970's.

How about you, dear blog reading friend. Any experience with meteors? Or. . . UFO's. Or. . . testing weapons, for that matter? Seriously, maybe you've been all too close to a natural disaster such as a tornado or earthquake. Please do share.

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