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Explosions heard in Argentine town caused by meteor

25 July 2016

On the afternoon of July 20, a series of powerful explosions were heard in the town of General Roca in central Argentina. Police, firefighters and emergency workers rushed to the scene, but found no evidence of a gas leak, bomb or other calamity.

Finally, scientists uncovered the cause. A meteor had entered the Earth's atmosphere some 10km overhead, travelling at 2,400 kilometers per hour and breaking up into several fragments.

Astronomer Roberto Figueroa, from the Neuquen observatory nearby, said some of the larger pieces could have reached the lower layers of the atmosphere and burned up there. Since they arrived at great speed, they produced the shock wave blasts that shook buildings across General Roca. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage.

In February 2013, an exploding meteor above the town of Chelyabinsk in Russia injured 1,500, mainly from the effects of broken glass, and caused damage to more than 7,000 buildings across a wide area of southern Siberia.

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