MOSCOW, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The powerful blast of a meteorite over a Russian city was probably caused by its previous space collisions with other celestial bodies, an expert says.
Professor Erik Galimov of the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry in Moscow said fragments of the meteorite that exploded over the Urals city of Chelyabinsk Feb. 15 were taken to the institute for study Monday.
"[The meteorite] experienced collisions in space before entering the atmosphere. Probably, this caused its disintegration, or fragmentation, which later resulted in such a powerful blast," Galimov told RIA Novosti. "Such blasts do not always occur when meteors fall."
Findings made by experts at the institute in Moscow confirmed preliminary results of the meteorite's test in a lab of the Urals Federal University, he said.
The shock wave from the exploding meteor damaged walls and shattered windows in Chelyabinsk and 1,500 people were injured, mostly by flying pieces of window glass.