Meteorite Blasts Russia [Live Update]

A meteorite streaked through the sky Friday morning, exploding over central Russia. Plant your eyeballs here for the latest updates. 3:15 p.m. EST: Russia Today writes that the estimated cost of damage has been revised down from 1 billion rubles to 400 million rubles, or about $13 million.
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3:15 p.m. EST: Russia Today writes that the estimated cost of damage has been revised down from 1 billion rubles to 400 million rubles, or about $13 million.

2:38 p.m. EST: The Wall Street Journal is reporting it’s 3,000 buildings that were damaged by the meteorite.

2:27 p.m. EST: A video look at the crater left in Chebarkul Lake.

1:54 p.m. EST: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson went on Today to give some context on how common a meteorite like this is (maybe a once-a-decade event) and why we didn’t spot it (too small).

1:10 p.m. EST: Big update from Russia Today: There are reportedly 1,200 injuries in the Chelyabinsk region. The (admittedly early) estimated cost for repairs will be about 1 billion rubles, or about $33 million. There are some conflicting reports on damage to buildings, but the latest figure from Russia Today puts the number of damaged buildings in the region at about 300.

1:00 p.m. EST: This photo, taken from European weather satellite Meteosat-10, shows the vapor trail left behind the meteorite. (It’s small, in the center of the photo.)

12:35 p.m. EST: Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, wants countries to come together and build a system that can intercept objects from space, the International Business Times is reporting.

12:25 p.m. EST: The Russian government’s response to the meteorite has been appropriately huge. CNN reports that “20,000 emergency response workers have been mobilized.”

11:48 a.m. EST: Photos of a heavily damaged zinc plant are circulating. We’ve seen this one on Reddit, and another on CNN.

11:10 a.m. EST: From Nature: This “was the largest recorded object to strike the Earth in more than a century, scientists say.” It was much more powerful than North Korea’s recent nuclear weapons test and the biggest meteorite collision since a 1908 crash over Siberia’s Tunguska river.

10:57 a.m. EST: NASA confirms the meteorite was unrelated to the asteroid passing earth today.

10:55 a.m. EST: The bulk of the damage apparently happened in the city of Chelyabinsk. It’s about 950 miles east of Moscow and has a lot of defense production factories, including nuclear weapons factories, the Times reports. It doesn’t look like the damage caused any radiation leaks.

10:41 a.m. EST: Another video of the shockwave, followed by the sound of car alarms and shattered glass.

10:30 a.m. EST: Phil Plait over at Slate writes that the meteorite “is almost certainly unrelated to the asteroid 2012 DA14 that will pass on Friday.” Most we’re seeing about that right now is a New York Times report saying it’s “possible that the meteorite may have been flying alongside the asteroid.”

10:12 a.m. EST: Russia Today is reporting that this image, of Chebarkul Lake, is a crater from where part of the meteorite fell.

10:09 a.m. EST: Thousands of buildings have been damaged in six different cities, according to Forbes. At last count, 112 have been hospitalized.

9:51 a.m. EST: The stats on the meteorite, via The Guardian, are unbelievable. The space rock weighed 11 tons and hit the atmosphere going at least 33,000 mph. Also, for context: “Something like this probably happens every decade but usually takes place over an unpopulated area.”

9:45 a.m. EST:The AP is reporting that the injury toll has reached “nearly 1,000.”

8:35 a.m. EST: Meteorite strikes are actually pretty common, the AP says: “Experts say smaller strikes happen five to 10 times a year. Large impacts such as the one Friday in Russia are rarer but still occur about every five years, according to Addi Bischoff, a mineralogist at the University of Muenster in Germany. Most of these strikes happen in uninhabited areas where they don’t cause injuries to humans.”

7:53 a.m. EST: Reuters is reporting that more than 500 people are injured: “514 people had sought medical help, mainly for light injuries caused by flying glass… 112 of those were kept in [a] hospital.” No fatalities have been reported.

7:15 a.m. EST: A meteorite whizzed through the sky early Friday morning, exploding over central Russia and sending fireballs crashing to the ground. Damaged buildings, shattered glass and disrupted phone networks were reported. We’ll keep you updated with news, videos and more.