Following last week's meteorite explosion, scientists have finally had chance to sit down and figure out exactly what happened — and the results help explain why it shook Russia so hard.
Peter Brown, from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, has been using the extremely low frequency sound waves detected during the incident to work out exactly what happened. The ESA explains:
The object is estimated to have been about 17 m across with a mass of 7,000 – 10,000 tonnes when it hit atmosphere. It exploded with a force of nearly 500 kilotons of TNT –- some 30 times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb -- around 15 to 20 km above the ground.
No wonder reports from Chelyabinsk, the city close to where the meteorite struck, described widespread window breakages and structural damage. [ESA]
Image by AP/Chelyabinsk.ru