Originally posted on Research & Collections:
MOSCOW: At about 9:20 AM local time, a roughly 50-foot wide, 11-ton meteor crashed through the Earth’s atmosphere to explode roughly 900 miles east of Moscow over the central Ural Mountains, to the great surprise of witnesses. Many wondered if it was an airplane that hit the building, shattering windows and injuring 1200 people; some even thought it was a nuclear test by the Americans.
This time, it was the cosmos calling. The explosion was caused by the substantial meteorite crashing down at 33,000 mph and breaking into pieces 20 to 30 miles above the Earth’s atmosphere, understandably causing some degree of panic, as local residents would never expect giant space rocks to come raining down from the sky.
Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured, and the pieces of meteorites found as a result are prized pieces specimens, pieces of asteroids that are some of the oldest material we have from the formation of the solar system, roughly 4.6 billion years ago.