An asteroid that exploded over a Russian city, leaving more than 1,000 people injured by flying glass and debris, collided with another asteroid before hitting Earth, scientists say.
Analysis of a mineral called jadeite that was embedded in fragments recovered after the explosion show that the asteroid’s parent body struck a larger asteroid at a relative speed of about 3,000mph.
The jadeite was found inside glassy substances known as shock veins which can only be formed if a rock crashes, melts and solidifies.
The findings by the researchers mark a breakthrough in the understanding of how asteroids are created and it is hoped that further analysis of the recovered rocks may give astrologists a greater understanding of how asteroids enter the earth’s atmosphere.
The study said: “Chelyabinsk meteorite is a unique sample: it is fragments of a Near-Earth Object that actually hit the Earth and its trajectory was well-recorded.”