Impact goes largely unnoticed

Although it's regarded as the most significant impact a meteor has insofar had with the Earth since the Chelyabinsk incident in Russia, this event went quite unnoticed, were we to consider the amount of energy unleashed, which would be the equivalent of 13,000 tons of TNT (trinitrotoluene, a chemical compound mainly used for generating explosions) or to the energy released during the explosion of the first atomic bomb during the Hiroshima tragedy.

The last explosion of this sort took place just a few years ago, 1,600 people having been injured in February 2013. Referring to the February 6th explosion, expert Phil Plait stated that he didn’t think the explosion would have brought in actual casualties had it occurred in a populated area, the most probable consequence being, in the researcher’s opinion, the rattling of some windows and widespread panic.

This meteor’s reported speed was 41,600 mph, but due to the fact that the collision took place in an isolated area, it could not be noticed to its exact proportions. The incident was reported by NASA who remarked the impact of an enormous rock approximately 600 miles off the Brazilian coast. NASA astronomer Ron Blaalke had tweeted it, and it was thus analyzed by Phil Plait. With a diameter of 5-7 meters, this celestial body is the second largest meteoric stone after the one that fell in the Russian city Chelyabinsk, where thousands of people were injured and the economic damage was hard to ignore.

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Scientists in this field believe there have been many similar impacts up until now, and this is why they usually monitor the vast majority of them, meaning the ones that can be efficiently monitored, so that they can separate this kind of event into two categories: the regular ones which do not stand as a threat to people, and the potentially hazardous ones. According to NASA, there are around 30 celestial rocks burning into the Earth’s atmosphere every year, which scientists refer to as “impacts," most of them entering the atmosphere and crashing in water: oceans, seas, and so on.

Even when meteors do crash onshore, the odds of massive destruction are minimal, taking into account that the Earth, contrary to what some people think, is actually rather sparsely populated.

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