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Did the Chelyabinsk meteor really explode ?

  1. Apr 25, 2013 #1
    Did the Chelyabinsk meteor really "explode"?

    All the news and video reports said the Chelyabinsk meteor "exploded" but is that strictly accurate?
    To explode, doesn't the inside of something have to rapidly expand and shatter the outer shell (like a bomb or hand grenade), so how can the inside of a meteor heat up faster than the outside?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2013 #2
    Yes the meteor exploded.


    Why did it explode? The short answer is the sheer speed generates such a rapid increase of kinetic energy (heat) that essentially rapidly vaporizes the mass. Depending on the material of the meteor will increase or decrease the possibility of explosion. Conglomerate or cement like meteors are more likely than solid iron meteors
  4. Apr 25, 2013 #3


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    That sucker blew up like a firecracker on the Fourth of July.
  5. Apr 26, 2013 #4

    D H

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    Not necessarily. You are confusing cause and effect. That's one cause of an explosion. An explosion is an effect, a sudden release of a large amount of energy, oftentimes associated with a shock wave. In the case of the Russian meteor, a very large amount of energy was released in a very short period of time, producing a sizable shock. It was an explosion.
  6. Apr 26, 2013 #5


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    I thought it was pent-up internal stress from the rapid heating? Like when you drop an ice cube in a drink and it cracks.
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