The sky is falling (updated)

A plunging meteor exploded with a blinding flash above central Russia on Friday, setting off a shock wave that shattered windows and hurt almost 1,200 people. (Updated)

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The damage came mostly or perhaps completely from shock waves that hit the area after the meteor had burned up. They are clearly audible in this dramatic video taken during the event:

Late Morning update

As of 11:00 the number of injured had risen to about 1200.

Mistaken identity: If you see a photo like this one in stories about the Russian space object – meteor or meteorite –, it's a misunderstanding. This is the so-called "Door to Hell" in Darvaza, Turkmenistan which has been burning for 40 years. A Russian TV station started the mistake yesterday and it is being repeated around the world (including our own Channel 3, Oops).

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Meteor strike in Russia hurts almost 1,000

By Stuart Williams (AFP)  

MOSCOW — A plunging meteor exploded with a blinding flash above central Russia on Friday, setting off a shock wave that shattered windows and hurt almost 1,000 people in an event unprecedented in modern times.

Experts insisted the meteor's fiery entry into the atmosphere was not linked to the asteroid 2012 DA 14, which later passed about 27,700 kilometres above the Earth without incident in an unusually close approach.

The meteor is seen from several different angles in this video:

But the extraordinary event brought morning traffic to a sudden halt in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk as shocked drivers stopped to watch the falling meteor partially burning up in the lower atmosphere and light up the sky.

The fall of such a large meteor estimated as weighing dozens of tonnes was extremely rare, while the number of casualties as a consequence of its burning up around a heavily-inhabited area was unprecedented.

The trail of a falling object is seen above a residential apartment block in the Russian Urals city of Chelyabinsk. AFP PHOTO/OLEG KARGOPOLOV

Chelyabinsk regional governor Mikhail Yurevich, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, said 950 people were injured, with two-thirds of the injuries light wounds from glass shards and other materials blown out by the shock wave.

Windows were blown out by the shock wave across the city's region with the ministry saying about 300 buildings were damaged including schools, hospitals, a zinc factory and even an ice hockey stadium.

A hole in a lake outside the town of Chebarkul which could be evidence of a meteorite hit.

"At 9:20 am (0320 GMT), an object was observed above Chelyabinsk which flew by at great speed and left a trail behind. Within two minutes there were two bangs," regional emergencies official Yuri Burenko said in a statement.

The office of the local governor said that a meteorite had fallen into a lake outside the town of Chebarkul in the Chelyabinsk region and television images pointed to a six-metre hole in the frozen lake's ice.

However it has yet to be finally confirmed if meteorite fragments made contact with the Earth and there were no reports that any locals had been hurt directly by a falling piece of meteorite.

Schools were closed for the day and theatre shows cancelled across the region after the shock wave blew out windows amid temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius.

shock wave – a movement of very high air pressure that is caused by an explosion, earthquake, etc. คลื่นกระแทก
meteor – a piece of rock from outer space that makes a bright line across the night sky as it burns up while falling through the earth's atmosphere ดาวตก
meteorite – a piece of rock from outer space that hits the earth's surface  อุกกาบาต, ดาวตก, สะเก็ดดาว
audible – able to be heard ซึ่งดังพอที่จะได้ยินได้
dramatic – sudden, very great and often surprising ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
plunge – to fall quickly from the sky ดิ่งลงมาจากท้องฟ้า
blinding – very bright; so strong that you cannot see เจิดจ้ามากจนมองไม่เห็น
flash – something that shines very brightly for a short time แสงวาบขึ้นมา
shatter – to break into many pieces แตกกระจาย
event – a thing that happens, especially something important เหตุการณ์สำคัญ
unprecedented – never having happened before ที่ไม่เคยเกิดขึ้นมาก่อน
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
atmosphere – the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth บรรยากาศรอบโลก
linked – connected เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
asteroid – any one of the many small planets that go around the sun กลุ่มวัตถุในอวกาศที่มีเส้นผ่านศูนย์กลางประมาณ 1-480 ไมล์ หรือน้อยกว่าโคจรอยุ่ระหว่างดาวอังคาร
incident – something that happens, usually something bad เหตุการณ์
approach – moving or coming closer การเข้าใกล้
angle – the direction from which something comes, or the direction from which you look at something, especially when it is not directly in front of you มุม
extraordinary – very unusual and surprising เกินธรรมดา, ผิดธรรมดา
halt – to stop หยุด
shocked – very surprised and upset ตกใจ
partially – in part, but not completely บางส่วน
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
rare – not happening very often เกิดขึ้นได้ยาก
casualties – deaths and/or injuries ผู้บาดเจ็บล้มตาย
consequence – result of effect of something ผลที่ตามมา
heavily-inhabited – having a large number of people living there
trail – long line or series of marks that is left by somebody/something ร่องรอย
residential – of a place where people live เขตที่อยู่อาศัย
light – not heavy เบา,ไม่หนัก
wound – an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged บาดแผล
shard – a piece of broken glass, metal, etc   เศษกระจก, เศษของมีคม
zinc – a chemical element. Zinc is a bluish-white metal that is mixed with copper to produce brass and is often used to cover other metals to prevent them from rusting สังกะสี
observe – to see something happen; to watch or study someone or something with care สังเกตการณ์
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
fragment – a small piece of a large object that has broken, often into a lot of pieces  ส่วนที่แตกออกมา
locals – people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
evidence – facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
contact – to touch สัมผัส
amid – during the time when something else is happening ท่ามกลาง
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ

Related search: meteor, Russia , Chelyabinsk, Urals

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager