Meteorites Explode over the Urals, Netizens React

A break in our usual scheduling to bring you a breaking news story from the Urals. This story will be updated throughout the day.

PLEASE NOTE: this article was originally translated at approximately 10:30 Moscow time, an hour or so after the initial incident. It has been updated throughout the day as new information has been released. This means that there may be inconsistencies or even contradictions in the text. These have been retained, and where possible, identified. This list has been updated with the latest information. Not all of this appears in the translated text below.

  • UPDATED: it would appear that only one meteorite fell in the Urals, but split into two or more pieces in the upper atmosphere
  • One exploded approximately 80km from Chelyabinsk, the other over Yekaterinburg
  • UPDATED: Despite a source in local government partially confirming that air defences took out the meteorite, officials have now denied this version of events. Reports initially suggested that the meteorite was taken out by Russia’s air defences at an altitude of approximately 20km.
  • UPDATED: The Russian army are now involved in the search for fallen material, and 20,000 Emergencies Ministry staff are working in the area
  • Russia has gone into high alert mode, and Operation Fortress has begun in the area, protecting vital infrastructure
  • The main damage has been caused to the side of a zinc plant in Chelyabinsk, where some news media are reporting a direct impact. However, as there have been no meteor fragments found, this cannot be confirmed
  • UPDATED: 112 people hospitalised after impact, 3 in a serious condition. 1,000 hurt by broken glass and concussed by the shockwave, 3,000 buildings have been damaged
  • There has been no damage to the nearby nuclear power plant
  • Accusations made that it was in fact a secret US weapons test by leader of opposition party
  • UPDATED: A 6-metre crater has been located near Chelyabinsk by the Russian military.
  • Hazmat teams are on high alert, as any pieces of meteorite discovered may be highly radioactive, although no changes in have been recorded in the atmosphere so far
  • UPDATED: Contradicting accounts are emerging. Some Russian scientists are saying that the meteor IS linked to 2012 DA14, others are saying it is not. 2012 DA14 is due to fly past the earth at a distance of 27,000 km later tonight
  • Very strong likelihood of another meteorite entering the earth’s atmosphere in the next few hours [reported at 9:36 GMT/13:56 MSK]
  • All schools and kindergartens in Chelyabinsk closed until Monday. This is linked to the fact that many windows are broken, and the temperature is -14°C.
  • Scientists believe that before it entered the atmosphere, the meteorite weighed ten tonnes, and exploded nine times during its descent, from a height of 55 km onwards, according to Life News.


An explosion has been recorded in the sky above Chelyabinsk

The explosion occurred in the skies above Chelyabinsk, and anonymous eyewitnesses reported the explosion of an aeroplane to Interfax. Mobile networks in the city are out of action, and the blast has shattered the windows of several buildings. The agency reports the evacuation of some buildings and of children from schools.

Another explosion in the sky was observed above Yekaterinburg. A message from Interfax followed explaining that a meteorite fell in the Sverdlovsk Oblast and that there are no reported accidents involving aircraft in the Urals, all flights are running according to schedule. RSN (Russian News Service) report burning objects falling in the Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, and Tumensk Oblasts, referring to ITAR-TASS.

“According to preliminary information, the explosion seen by local residents was the result of a meteor shower”, the Urals region headquarters of the Emergencies Ministry told ITAR-TASS.

“Although we also witnessed this phenomenon, we are yet to discover what it was, it isn’t anything to do with us, we have no reported accidents. We are still operating as usual”, the press secretary of Koltsovo airport in Yekaterinburg told Novy Region, where “an explosion was recorded in the centre of the town, in south-west Yekaterinburg and in the sky above Koltsovo airport. People began to panic: dogs started howling, alarms went off, birds took fright.”

There is no information about whether anyone was injured or killed in the incident.

[Note: injuries have since been confirmed, but mostly limited to concussion and injuries relating to broken glass. No deaths have been reported]



Image of the crater left by the meteorite

Image of the crater left by the meteorite. Although this looks a little disappointing, bear in mind that this is only the hole left in the ice covering the lake.

Comments from


Not a bad bombing run




Like in disaster movies


There are more photos at
And of the consequences at


The first meteorite fell in Yekaterinburg, the second in Chelyabinsk. There’s a video of the effects at


There’s been an explosion, but nobody knows what it is? Aren’t there any experts?


Rare, but cool …


It’s not really clear what happened here …


Hurray, it’s begun!!!
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven … And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken and then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (See the gospel according to Luke 21:11-27)


Now there will be all sorts of paranoid conspiracy theories proposed by “experts”, and the mass media or “the mass media” will quote them as though they were real experts.


I hope everyone’s OK?


The explosion was visible 350km away


Omerican secret weapon, haha.

[Note: the deliberate misspelling is slightly derogatory]

Alex B:

The aliens have come for Satan Putin

Беродах Баладан сын Баладана :

Impressive, Ridus is ahead most of the media.
The meteorite flew in and entered the atmosphere from Kazakhstan.
However, this evening there will be an even larger asteroid flying towards the earth.


Ah, meteorites. We’ve heard that one before. Let’s ask the Rashian military.

Canis Lupus:

Heavy rain in the Chelyabinsk region


Did Russia’s air defences really bring down the meteorite?

Беродах Баладан сын Баладана : (responding to above)

Air defences can monitor ICBMs with a speed of 5-7 km per second.
A meteorite enters the earth’s atmosphere at around 70km per second.

[Note: this is inaccurate, NASA predictions suggest that 2012 DA14 is travelling at around 7.82 km/s, which would put it outside the upper range of the number quoted for ICBMs, but only just. Wikipedia, however, suggests the impact speed of an ICBM is up to 4 km/s, rather than 5-7.]


Now for the interesting part: assessing the damage …

Comments from another Ridus article:


So, has the attack finished? Can we come out of the bunkers yet? Is the president still underground?

Comments from a third Ridus article:


Mars attacks


Why did the meteorite break up in the air? What’s the explanation?

Luksh: (responding to above)

I read on one comment on a YouTube clip that it would seem that according to local news, the meteorite was shot down by the local air defence system.

[Note: this is also being reported on a number of news websites]


For a meteorite, it’s going a bit slowly. They fly at tens of thousands of kilometres [Note: presumably per hour]. More than likely that our own weapons can’t make it to their targets, and are falling on our own cities. I would like to see the opinions of foreign experts [on this].


No, it can’t be a meteorite. It’s angels crapping from the sky.

From Twitter:

@AlexeySazonov: Information has been released that the Chelyabinsk meteorite was scheduled for 21.12.12, but the Russian Postal Service were in charge of delivering it

‏@gruppa_voina: 90% of the videos of the Chelyabinsk meteorite start with the word “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

‏@NutaDrams: A meteorite landed. And I slept through it again(

@senko: News from Chelyabinsk: “I was going to stay sober today, but looks like it’s not going to happen. I survived the meteor impact”.

@RoRom71: Meteorite or not, dinner’s served on time)))

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