Despite warnings not to approach any unidentified objects, some enterprising locals were hoping to cash in.
“Selling meteorite that fell on Chelyabinsk!” one prospective seller, Vladimir, said on a popular Russian auction website. He attached a picture of a black piece of stone that on Friday afternoon was priced at 1,488 roubles ($49.46).
WINDOWS BREAK, FRAMES BUCKLE
The early morning blast and ensuing shock wave blew out windows on Chelyabinsk’s central Lenin Street, buckled some shop fronts and rattled apartment buildings in the city centre.
“I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend,” said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. “Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shock wave that smashed windows.”
Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up their children from schools and kindergartens.
A wall was badly damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but a spokeswoman said no environmental threat resulted.
In 1908, a meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250 miles) in Siberia, breaking windows as far as 200 km (125 miles) from the point of impact.