A fireball was seen streaking through the clear morning sky above the city of Yekaterinburg, followed by loud bangs, but much of the impact was felt in the city of Chelyabinsk, some 200 km south of Yekaterinburg.
President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.
Putin also promised “immediate” aid for people affected, saying kindergartens and schools had been damaged, and work disrupted at industrial enterprises.
Russian space agency Roskosmos has confirmed the object that crashed in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite. They said in a statement, “According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite. It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/second.”
Asteroids are small bodies that orbit the Sun as the Earth does. Larger asteroids are called planetoids or minor planets and smaller ones are called meteoroids.
The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that the meteor weighed about 10 tonnes and entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kmph.