Trail of a meteorite crossing the early morning sky above the city of Kamensk-Uralsky February 15, 2013, is seen in this still image taken from video footage from a dashboard journey recorder and obtained by REUTERS TV. More than 500 people were injured when a meteorite shot across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, sending fireballs crashing to Earth, shattering windows and damaging buildings. REUTERS/Amateur video via Reuters TV
The latest estimates indicate the meteorite that crashed into Russia last Friday weighed roughly 10,000 tons and was 55-feet in diameter, making it the largest meteorite to strike Earth in over a century, scientists say.
The meteorite struck Chelyabinsk in the early morning hours of Feb. 15 and left over a 1,000 people injured. The Russian Academy of Sciences estimated the weight of the space rock at 10 tons, but, according to the Wall Street Journal, experts at NASA have greatly increased that estimate to 10,000 tons.
If estimates are correct, the meteorite crash at Chelyabinsk would be the largest since the 1908 meteorite crash in Tunguska, Siberia, experts say.
"We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years," Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office told the Wall Street Journal. "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."
Researchers are scattered throughout the south central Russian providence collecting pieces of the meteorite but no large chunks have been found yet. Reports say a group of researchers from Ural Federal University have collected 53 fragments and the largest found was only 7 millimeters.
Data from a global network of sensors also provides a glimpse of the meteorite's power. As the meteor disintegrated during its flight toward the impact zone it released roughly 500 kilotons of energy, 30 times more than the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima.