Russian Meteor: Chelyabinsk Cleaning Up After Meteor Blast

PHOTO: In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera, on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, Feb. 15, 2013 a meteorite contrail is seen.

A day after a massive meteor exploded over this city in central Russia, a monumental cleanup effort is under way.

Authorities have deployed around 24,000 troops and emergencies responders to help in the effort.

Officials say more than a million square feet of windows -- the size of about 20 football fields -- were shattered by the shockwave from the meteor's blast. Around 4,000 buildings in the area were damaged.

The injury toll climbed steadily on Friday. Authorities said today it now stands at more than 1,200. Most of those injuries were from broken glass, and only a few hundred required hospitalization.

According to NASA, this was the biggest meteor to hit Earth in more than a century. Preliminary figures suggest it was 50 feet wide and weighed more than the Eiffel Tower.

SEE PHOTOS: Meteorite Crashes in Russia

NASA scientists have also estimated the force of the blast that occurred when the meteor fractured upon entering Earth's atmosphere was approximately 470 kilotons -- the equivalent of about 30 Hiroshima bombs.

Residents said today they still can't believe it happened here.

"It was something we only saw in the movies," one university student said. "We never thought we would see it ourselves."

Throughout the city, the streets are littered with broken glass. Local officials have announced an ambitious pledge to replace all the broken windows within a week. In the early morning hours, however, workers could still be heard drilling new windows into place.

Authorities have sent divers into a frozen lake outside the city, where a large chunk of the meteor is believed to have landed, creating a large hole in the ice. By the end of the day they had not found anything.

They are not the only ones looking for it.

Meteor hunters from around the world are salivating at what some are calling the opportunity of a lifetime. A small piece of the meteor could fetch thousands of dollars and larger chunks could bring in even hundreds of thousands.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 18521247.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Director Wes Craven attends the screening of Life Itself at the ArcLight Cinemas, June 26, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif.
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Kanye West accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images