Chelyabinsk asteroid: Explosion 30 times the strength of atomic bomb was caused by collision in deep space
The Chelyabinsk asteroid was the second biggest explosion ever recorded
Friday 23 May 2014
The asteroid that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, leaving more than one thousand people injured, was redirected towards earth after colliding with another asteroid.
Research by the University of Tohoku in Japan and Novosibirsk University in Russia said that the Chelyabinsk asteroid was likely to have been a part of a larger asteroid but had been separated from its celestial body after a 3,000 mph collision occurred in deep space nearly 10 million years ago.
"This impact might have separated the Chelyabinsk asteroid from its parent body and delivered it to the Earth," wrote researcher Shin Ozawa of the University Tohoku in a paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.
The Chelyabinsk asteroid which exploded last February, became the second most powerful explosion in recorded history and was said to have a force 30 times larger than that of Hiroshima.
Travelling at almost 60 times the speed of sound, most of the asteroid was incinerated on entering the Earth’s atmosphere creating a massive fireball that could be seen from Earth.
Despite disintegrating thousands of miles away from the Earth’s surface the explosion of the asteroid still caused destruction in Chelyabinsk and the surrounding areas, with over 1,500 people needing medical attention and 7,200 buildings being damaged.
The report said that they had found “clear evidence for an intense impact event.”
The conclusion came after fragments of the asteroid were analysed by scientists and it was found that the fragments from the asteroid contained the mineral jadeite – a mineral only found in asteroids that are put under extreme pressure and temperatures.
The jadeite was found inside glassy substances known as shock veins which can only be formed if a rock crashes, melts and solidifies.
The findings by the researchers mark a breakthrough in the understanding of how asteroids are created and it is hoped that further analysis of the recovered rocks may give astrologists a greater understanding of how asteroids enter the earth’s atmosphere.
The study said: “Chelyabinsk meteorite is a unique sample: it is fragments of a Near-Earth Object that actually hit the Earth and its trajectory was well-recorded.”
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