As the world waited for an expected close pass of an asteroid 2012 DA 14 on the evening of 15 February, a second smaller object, fell onto the Ural mountains in Central Russia on the morning of that day. At 0315 GMT a 15m diameter meteorite plunged through the atmosphere explosively breaking up as it did so at a height of circa 20-25km and with an explosive power of 500kT (kiloton equivalent of TNT). The shockwave resulting from the air burst explosion was reported to have injured more than one thousand people as it blew out windows and damaged roofs in the city of Chelyabinsk. The injuries were mainly minor and no fatalities were reported.
As it exploded a shower of suriving pieces fell to the Earth causing some to think that the burning pieces were a meteor shower. Many amateur film clips of the fireball caused by the meteorite entering the Earth’s atmosphere have been taken in the skies above the city of Yekaterinburg before the explosion. The explosive event is rated by NASA as the largest since a meteor/comet fragment exploded over Siberia in the multi-megaton-class Tunguska explosion of 1908.