Massive meteorite burns up over the Atlantic - almost unnoticed

The largest space rock since the dramatic impact of a meteorite over Russia's Chelyabinsk two years ago burned up over the Atlantic almost unnoticed on February 6, reports said Wednesday.

Recordings by the US space agency NASA show that the heavenly object entered the Earth's atmosphere 1,800 kilometres off the coast of Brazil and some 30 kilometres above sea level.

The meteorite's impact with the Earth's atmosphere - when it likely exploded - released the equivalent energy of 13,000 tons of TNT.

The effects of the impact were comparatively small, according to science blogger Phil Plait writing in the US magazine Slate.

"Had it happened over a populated area it, would've rattled some windows and probably terrified a lot of people, but I don't think it would've done any real damage," Plait wrote.

In contrast, the impact wave from the meteorite that exploded in the region of Chelyabinsk in the Russian Ural mountains in February 2013 thousands of buildings. Shattered glass injured some 1,500 people in that event.

Experts say the Chelyabinsk meteorite weighed 10,000 tons, measured 20 metres in diameter and released the equivalent energy of 500,000 to 600,000 tons of TNT, or 30-40 times the power of the atom bomb that fell on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

Last update: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 17:41

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