A large round hole in the ice of Lake Chebarkul, 80 kilometers west of the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals, may have been made by a fragment of the meteor which exploded in a massive fireball above the region on Friday. The shockwave from the meteor damaged 4,000 buildings and injured some 1,200 people, mostly from flying glass. Divers are scouring the bottom of Lake Chebarkul looking for fragments of the meteor. Thus far no other fragments have been found from the meteor in the region.
The meteor explosion appears to be one of the most stunning cosmic events above Russia since the 1908 Tunguska Event in which a massive blast most scientists blame on an asteroid or a comet ripped through Siberia.
Scientists at the US space agency Nasa estimated that the amount of energy released from impact with the atmosphere was about 30 times greater than the force of the nuclear bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II.
“We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years on average,” said Paul Chodas of Nasa’s Near-Earth Object Program Office.
“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,” he said in a statement published on the NASA website.