What seems to be a meteorite has struck the western Cuban town of Viñales, according to local news reports.
Residents reported loud explosions and a trail in the sky earlier today, and the US National Weather Service confirmed having received reports of a meteorite seen in the skies above the Florida Keys.
Reporters at the Cuban television station TelePinar tweeted that they’d found palm-sized black stones after the blast, ironically near a mural of dinosaurs.
#CUBA: This is a close up of a #rock people in the #Viñales area believe is part of the #meteorite that fell in the area. You can see this one is almost the size of a #mobile phone. @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/xDO0jy6tCO
— Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) February 1, 2019
Reporteros de @TelePinar en el #MuraldelaPrehistoria #Viñales #PinarDelRio constatan caída de piedras negras de alrededor de 7 cm luego de un gran estruendo. @fatimaTelePinar investiga #Cuba pic.twitter.com/NLLvVcr18U
— Rolando Segura (@rolandoteleSUR) February 1, 2019
There have been no reported injuries.
In the video below, what seems to be a sonic boom can be heard at 0:46. Objects moving faster than the speed of sound produce these loud shockwaves, which are powerful enough to break glass.
Meteorite strikes are more common than you might think. Dust-grain size meteoroids strike the Earth’s atmosphere almost constantly, but they often go unnoticed. Meteoroids between a millimetre and a centimetre burn up in the atmosphere and appear to us as shooting stars.
Larger strikes are less common — a 1m meteoroid strikes the Earth once each year on average and would reach the ground as smaller debris, while a 100m meteoroid strikes the Earth approximately every 10,000 years, according to a Tufts University fact sheet. Meteoroids over 1km hitting Earth are catastrophic events that occur every one million years on average.
But medium-size strikes can be dramatic spectacles — and in some cases, dangerous. The Chelyabinsk meteor that struck southern Russia in February 2013 blew out windows and caused indirect injuries to almost 1500 people.