NASA Says Russian Meteor Was Largest Since Tunguska

Posted on February 18, 2013

NASA says the meteor that disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia on 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 was the largest reported since the Tunguska meteoroid in 1908. 80 million trees were knocked down during the Tunguska event. NASA says the Ural meteor had a diameter of 49 feet (15 meters) to 55 feet (17 meters).

The estimate of the energy released has been increased from 30 kilotons to 500 kilotons. The shock wave from the Ural meteor injured over 1,200 people and damaged windows in over 3,000 buildings.

NASA says it in its release that it expects an incident like this about every 100 years. Russia has now been impacted by the two biggest events in the past 105 years.

Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement, "We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years on average. When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones."

NASA also reiterated that the Chelyabinsk meteor was not related to asteroid 2012 DA14. NASA says asteroid 2012 DA14 was a "completely unrelated object."

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