By Natalia Shurmina and Andrey Kuzmin
CHELYABINSK, Russia | Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:05pm EST
(Reuters) – A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a wide area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured more than 1,000 people.
People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt the shock wave, according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 1,500 km (950 miles) east of Moscow.
The fireball, travelling at a speed of 30 km (19 miles) per second according to Russian space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail that could be seen as far as 200 km (125 miles) away.
Car alarms went off, thousands of windows shattered and mobile phone networks were disrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteor explosion, a very rare spectacle, also unleashed a sonic boom.
“I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it were day,” said Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains.
“I felt like I was blinded by headlights.”
The meteor, which weighed about 10 tons and may have been made of iron, entered Earth’s atmosphere and broke apart 30-50 km (19-31 miles) above ground, according to Russia’s Academy of Sciences.
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