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updated: 2/16/2013 1:31 PM

Cuba, California report possible meteor explosions

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  • Investigators work Saturday at a hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteorite reportedly struck the lake near the town of Chebarkul, Russia. With a blinding flash and a booming shock wave, a meteor blazed across the western Siberian sky Friday and exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs.

      Investigators work Saturday at a hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteorite reportedly struck the lake near the town of Chebarkul, Russia. With a blinding flash and a booming shock wave, a meteor blazed across the western Siberian sky Friday and exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs.
    Associated Press

 
Associate Press

HAVANA -- Cuba apparently experienced a phenomenon similar to but smaller than the meteorite that detonated over Russia this week, island media reported, with startled residents describing a bright light in the sky and a loud explosion that shook windows and walls.

There were no reports of any injuries or damage such as those caused by the Russia meteorite, which sent out shockwaves that hurt some 1,200 people and shattered countless windows.

In a video from a state TV newscast posted on the website CubaSi late Friday, unidentified residents of the central city of Rodas, near Cienfuegos, said the explosion was impressive.

"On Tuesday we left home to fish around five in the afternoon, and around 8:00 we saw a light in the heavens and then a big ball of fire, bigger than the sun," one local man said in the video.

"My home shook completely," said a woman. "I had never heard such a strange thing."

Marcos Rodriguez, whom the video identified as a specialist in anthropology, said all signs point to a meteorite.

According to scientists, five to 10 smaller meteorites hit the planet each year. Larger events like the one over Russia are more rare, and some experts said it may have been the biggest such blast since another meteor hit Siberia in 1908.

Also Friday, residents of the San Francisco Bay Area reported seeing a fireball in the sky that scientists said was likely a piece of space rock. Another meteor in the same area last October caused a loud sonic boom.

In Cuba, a reporter on the video said a similar phenomenon was observed in 1994 elsewhere in Cienfuegos province.

It said Cuban authorities were looking for any fragments that may have fallen to the earth.

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