15 February 2013, 17:41

Urals meteorite: no radiation around impact crater

Urals meteorite: no radiation around impact crater

The Russian Defence Ministry says its experts have so far failed to detect abnormal radiation levels around the six-meter impact crater left by a fragment of the South Urals meteorite near Chebarkul Lake in Chelyabinsk Region.

Astronomers at the Pulkovo Observatory outside St Petersburg say they believe the meteorite that crashed into the South Urals this morning was linked to the approach of the 2012DA14 asteroid, which is to make a close shave with the Earth at a distance of just 27,000 kilometers tonight.

The meteorite measured several meters across and had a mass of about 10 metric tons.

It entered the atmosphere at some 20 kilometers a second and disintegrated at 30 to 50 kilometers above the surface. Its fireball could be observed from five Russian regions and northern Kazakhstan.

The shockwave from the explosion shattered window panes in Chelyabinsk and several other towns and cities, leaving some 700 people injured with broken glass. About a hundred Chelyabinsk school students are in hospital with cuts and concussions.

President Vladimir Putin has issued orders to rush emergency help.

Latest reports say the explosions damaged about 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk.

Voice of Russia, TASS

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