Strange damage reports surface after Friday's Russian meteor explosion

It's strange enough that so many people were able to capture video of the meteorite that streaked over Russia on Friday exploding over populated areas causing injury and large amounts of damage. We knew as of Friday that the meteorite had exploded with enough force to knock glass windows out of many buildings in the cold Siberian portion of Russia.

Today we have more reports of damage caused by the meteor explosion and they are as bizarre as some of the damage reports from tornadoes we've heard over the years. For instance, in the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia some high-rise buildings had the glass blown out of every window on the top floor while other buildings had only the glass from the bottom floor destroyed. Even that's not the most bizarre report of damage caused by the meteor.

Some citizens living within the city are reporting that the external windows of their apartments remain intact while glass jars in dishes inside the home were destroyed by the meteor explosion. Some citizens also reported that their electronic devices were destroyed by the explosion. One citizen reported that a glass bottle he was holding shattered in his hand.

Scientists say that glass was destroyed by pressure waves created as the meteor fragment decelerated. These low-frequency waves are called infrasound. Scientists say that these waves can bounce off buildings causing them to be stronger in some places than others and can resonate with glass explaining why bottles and dishes might have shattered inside of homes otherwise unaffected by the meteor.

While some apartment dwellers had their windows blown out, apartments next door with the same windows remained intact. Scientists are estimating that the meteor is the largest to have entered the Earth's atmosphere since 1908. Current reports pegged the number of people injured at 1200, mostly from falling glass. NASA estimates that a meteor of this size hits the Earth about once every 100 years. The city of Chelyabinsk, Russia has about 1 million citizens.

[via NYT]