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Meteor explodes over Russia

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 05:59:38 PM CST

A meteor streaked through the sky above central Russia and exploded.

A meteor streaked through the sky above central Russia and exploded.

The blast caused massive damage throughout Russia's Urals region.

Nearly 1,000 people have sought treatment for injuries, and the meteor damaged around 3,000 buildings, said officials.

The meteor explosion was so powerful, it knocked down walls, shattered windows and glass and had workers dodging debris.

The deafening boom exploded around 9:20 a.m. local time Friday morning.

Experts said a meteor like that can be hard to predict.

"As they're coming through Earth's atmosphere they heat up, they heat up the air around them and they grow. That's what creates the light that you see," said Phill Reed, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Kutztown University.

Amateur video showed the bright white streak shoot through the sky before exploding with a brighter flash.

"When they heat up, the outer layers get hot and they break apart," said Reed.

According to experts, the meteor blast was rare. They're fragments from comets that have already passed, and can hit anywhere around the world. Possibly, in the Lehigh Valley or Berks County.

"It's definitely unfortunate the injuries and the damage, but scientifically, these things are good," said Reed. "These pieces of rock are coming from way out in the solar system. They could be billions of years old, and studying those rocks help us determine the nature of our solar system back when it was formed."

Most of the injuries reported are not considered serious, but around 20,000 emergency response workers have been mobilized to the region, said officials.