Russian Meteorite Strike

The most breathtaking pictures yet of Russian meteorite

A professional photographer today told of the  moment he feared a nuclear bomb had gone off when the Russian meteorite tore  through the sky as he took pictures of an idyllic rural scene.

Marat Akhmetaleyev, 31, had just set up his  tripod when the space rock lit up the crisp, morning sky almost where his camera  was pointing.

Despite trembling with shock, he  instinctively started to snap  away.

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Atomic angst: This incredible picture o0f the Russian meteorite was taken by professional photographer Marat Akhmetaleyev who feared it was a nuclear bombAtomic angst: This incredible picture o0f the Russian  meteorite was taken by professional photographer Marat Akhmetaleyev who feared  it was a nuclear bomb

Shocking: Despite trembling with fear, Mr Akhmetaleyev instinctively started snapping away as the space rock lit up the skyShocking: Despite trembling with fear, Mr Akhmetaleyev  instinctively started snapping away as the space rock lit up the sky

Trail of destruction: The 100,000-tonne space rock blitzes through the air before exploding with the force of 30 Hiroshima bombsTrail of destruction: The 100,000-ton space rock  blitzes through the air before exploding with the force of 30 Hiroshima  bombs

 

Right time, right place: Mr Akhmetaleyev had gone out to shoot some idyllic rural scenes when the meteorite blasted into view just where his camera was pointingRight time, right place: Mr Akhmetaleyev had gone out to  shoot some idyllic rural scenes when the meteorite blasted into view just where  his camera was pointing

He told the Siberian  Times: ‘When the  flash was as bright as  possible, I felt strong heat in my face and strong pain  in my eyes of  intolerable glare. It lasted just a split second.

‘My thoughts were confused and spontaneous.  The first thing I thought was not a meteorite, but a nuclear bomb.

‘Then I remembered the media reports about a  possible asteroid and its  approach to the Earth. Then there was the idea that a  plane had  crashed.’

Around two minutes after the flash, Mr  Akhmetaleyev said he heard a series of ‘clear and powerful’ blasts  as the  meteorite exploded with the force of 30 Hiroshima  bombs.

Devastation: The meteorite exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, injuring nearly 1,500 people and causing widespread property damage in city of ChelyabinskDevastation: The meteorite exploded over Russia’s Ural  Mountains on Friday, injuring nearly 1,500 people and causing widespread  property damage in city of Chelyabinsk

 

Terrifying: Around two minutes after the flash, Mr Akhmetaleyev said he heard a series of 'clear and powerful' explosions as the meteorite plunged into the groundTerrifying: Around two minutes after the flash, Mr  Akhmetaleyev said he heard a series of ‘clear and powerful’ explosions as the  meteorite plunged into the ground

Capturing chaos: Mr Akhmetaleyev, who stood there 'stunned' for quite some afterwards, has now released his incredible picturesCapturing chaos: Mr Akhmetaleyev, who stood there  ‘stunned’ for quite some afterwards, has now released his incredible  pictures

Stunning: A montage of all the images taken by Marat Akhmetaleyev of the meteorite as it hurtled over the Russian skyStunning: A montage of all the images taken by Marat  Akhmetaleyev of the meteorite as it hurtled over the Russian sky

 

He added: ‘Immediately after that  there was  a series of bombings over the pine forest, a large number of  birds rose up and  flew in all directions.

‘My heartbeat, breathing, and hand tremors  only got worse. The shock was even bigger’.

Mr Akhmetaleyev, who stood there ‘stunned’ for quite some  afterwards, has now released his incredible pictures.

The 100,000-tonne meteorite exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday, injuring nearly 1,500 people and causing  widespread property damage in city of Chelyabinsk.

The debris narrowly missed a direct and  devastating hit on the industrial city which has a population of 1.13  million  but spread panic through its streets as the sky above lit up  with a blinding  flash.

Ice hole: The meteor left this 50ft hole in a frozen lake on the outskirts of Chelyabinsk, in the UralsIce hole: The meteor left this 50ft hole in a frozen  lake on the outskirts of Chelyabinsk, in the Urals

 

Disaster: Some of the destruction caused by the meteor which exploded with the force of 30 Hiroshima bombsDisaster: Some of the destruction caused by the meteor  which exploded with the force of 30 Hiroshima bombs

Measuring around 55 feet in  diameter, scientists claim it is the  biggest space rock to have hit earth in more than a century.

It created a huge hole in a frozen lake when  it crashed into the ground.

Scientists have found more than 50 tiny  fragments of the meteor, allowing them to uncover information about its  contents.

But local residents have been more interested  in the black market value of the fragments since the dramatic incident, as a  ‘gold mine’ has been kickstarted fior the valuable pieces.

As they search for their own pieces of the  meteor, rocks have already been put on the internet for sale, and police are  warning all purchasers to prepare for possible fraud.

Trillions of Carats

Russia is about to start tapping into a huge source of diamonds that could supply the world market for the next 3,000 years.

Scientists estimate there are ‘trillions of carats’ lying beneath a 35million-year-old asteroid crater in Siberia – more than ten times the global stockpile.

The Kremlin has known about the reserves under the 62-mile-wide impact zone since the 1970s.

But it has kept it a secret until now because it was already reaping big profits in what back then was a heavily controlled market.

 
Hidden treasures: A aerial view of the 35-mile-wide Popigai Astroblem crater which contains enough diamonds to supply global markets for the next 3,000 years

Hidden treasures: A aerial view of the 35-mile-wide Popigai Astroblem crater which contains enough diamonds to supply global markets for the next 3,000 years
 
In the money: The crater, in eastern Siberia, has been known about since the 1970s, but the Kremlin kept it a secret to exploit its already rich reserves of the precious stone

In the money: The crater, in eastern Siberia, has been known about since the 1970s, but the Kremlin kept it a secret to exploit its already rich reserves of the precious stone

The Soviets had also been producing various artificial diamonds for industry which proved a lucrative enterprise.

Government officials finally gave scientists from the nearby Novosibirsk Institute of Geology and Mineralogy permission to lift the lid on the crater’s hidden gems in a meeting with journalists over the weekend.

The official news agency, ITAR-Tass, said the diamonds at the site, known as Popigai Astroblem, are ‘twice as hard’ as the usual gemstones, making them ideal for industrial and scientific uses.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, the institute’s director, Nikolai Pokhilenko, told the agency that the new source would cause a radical shake-up in the precious stones market.

 
Lucrative industry: These diamonds, weighing over 50 carats each, were found in Russia's Yakutia mine, which has been rich resource for the country, but nothing compared to the new one

Lucrative industry: These diamonds, weighing over 50 carats each, were found in Russia’s Yakutia mine, which has been rich resource for the country, but nothing compared to the new one

The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the Popigai crypto-explosion structure are by a factor of ten bigger than the world’s all known reserves,’ he said.

‘We are speaking about trillions of carats. By comparison, present-day known reserves in Yakutia (a Russian mine) are estimated at one billion carats.’

The stones at Popigai are known as ‘impact diamonds’ which result when an object like a meteor strikes an existing diamond deposit.

They are also unique, which will make them even more sought-after in high-precision scientific and industrial markets.

Pokhilenko said: ‘The value of impact diamonds is added by their unusual abrasive features and large grain size.

‘This expands significantly the scope of their industrial use and makes them more valuable for industrial purposes.’

Diamond production was booming in Russia in 2007 when output reached $1.35billion, 98 per cent of which was exported to Belgium, Israel, Southeast Asia and the USA.

But the bottom fell out in 2009 when polished diamond production fell to an unprecedented low of US$350 million during the economic crisis.

With world markets starting to show signs of resilience, this may explain why Russia has chosen now to reveal its hidden treasure.

Attribution: Mail Online