News / Science & Technology

Deadly Meteorites Routinely Explode on Earth

Deadly Meteorites Routinely Explode on Earthi
X
George Putic
May 14, 2014 12:40 PM
Space rocks often enter the Earth’s atmosphere and usually explode and burn before falling to the ground. About 70 percent of our planet is covered with water so most of them disappear on the oceans’ floor and we would not know about them if it was not for an international agency. VOA’s George Putic reports.
George Putic
Last year, a meteorite exploded 23 kilometers above Chelyabinsk, Russia. 

It was estimated to be 18 meters long with the mass of about 10,000 tons. If it had fallen in a populated area, an entire city could have been devastated. Luckily, the meteorite disintegrated and most of the fragments fell into Lake Chebarkul.

Space rocks often enter the Earth’s atmosphere and usually explode and burn before falling to the ground. About 70 percent of our planet is covered with water so most of them disappear beneath the oceans’ surface.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Preparatory Commission (CTBTO), based in Vienna, Austria, says the Earth is visited by meteorites more often than is widely known.

“Since meteorites are sometimes entering the atmosphere, and they are creating loud air bursts," said acoustic officer Pierrick Mialle. "Then we will record those at some of the stations."

The commission controls a worldwide network of seismic, hydrostatic, ultrasound and radioactivity sensors that monitor possible violations of the Nuclear Test ban treaty. They also document meteor encounters. Between 2000 and 2013, 26 powerful explosions of large meteorites were recorded entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

The B612 foundation, which monitors meteorite impacts, estimates at least four of them were stronger than the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

In addition to loud noise, explosions create low frequency infrasound, out of humans' hearing range, which can travel very long distances.

The February 2013 explosion of the Chelyabinsk meteorite was recorded by CTBTO stations as far as Antarctica.
 
Mialle says listening stations have an array of four to 15 high-technology sensors.

“They are called micro barometer because they measure micro fluctuations of the atmosphere," Mialle said. "It’s like a large microphone except there’s no membrane.”

Some of the explosions are hard to identify immediately after detection.

“For instance, the first time we had this, what was later called the Super Bolide of North Pacific, in the first few weeks all that was known was a large event in the middle of the Pacific, but we didn’t know what it was,” Mialle said.

The commission keeps contact with other agencies that track meteorites, such as NASA,  which later confirmed that the mysterious explosion was caused by a meteorite.

When complete, the CTBTO system will have 337 stations worldwide monitoring nuclear explosions and other loud sounds in the atmosphere.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid