Russian authorities have reportedly sent a 20,000-strong team to the Ural Mountains to help with the rescue and clean-up operation after a meteor struck the area.

The 10-ton meteor, thought to be made of iron, exploded over the Chelyabinsk region in southern Russia on Friday morning.

More than 1,000 people were injured when the meteor, which was travelling at over 54,000mph, streaked through the atmosphere and created a sonic boom.

Hundreds of people were injured when glass shattered in countless windows in the area.

According to Russia's Academy of Sciences, the meteor broke apart 30-50km (20-30 miles) above the Earth's surface, releasing several kilotonnes of energy - the same as a small atomic weapon - the BBC said.

The meteorite is believed to have landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in the Chelyabinsk region.

Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly said he thanked God that no large fragments had fallen in populated areas, while Russia's emergencies ministry urged calm, saying background radiation levels were normal following the meteorite shower, the BBC said.

Dramatic amateur video footage showed the meteor streaking across the sky at around 9.20am local time. It caused a bright flash of light and left a white trail of smoke.

Tim O'Brien, associate director of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, said: "It made a sonic boom in the atmosphere, and that hit buildings and shattered windows. That is what seems to have caused the injuries.

"It's a completely abnormal experience. This thing appeared in the distance, raced over the horizon and was followed up 30 seconds or a minute later by a huge boom as the shockwave hit the ground. I can imagine that would be very frightening."

Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, said: "There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people's houses to check if they were okay.

"We saw a big burst of light, then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound."
Dr Lewis, an astronautics expert at the University of Southampton, said the meteor was "very small" at around five metres in diameter.

In an amazing "cosmic coincidence", experts said the meteor appeared to be unconnected to an asteroid that narrowly missed Earth last night.

The asteroid, named 2012 DA14, was big enough to flatten London and came within 17,200 miles of the Earth's surface.

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  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo provided by E1.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over a vilage of Bolshoe Sidelnikovo 50 km of Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Nadezhda Luchinina, E1.ru)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a woman cleans away glass debris from a window after a meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia on Friday, causing a shockwave that blew out windows injuring hundreds of people and sending fragments falling to the ground in the Ural Mountains. The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement hours after the Friday morning fall that the meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground. The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. (AP Photo/ Yevgenia Yemelyanova, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed after a meteorite exploded over in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Oleg Kargapolov, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a minivan passes a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Valentin Kazakov)

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 08

    In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

    A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

    A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • RUSSIA METEORITE

    Map locates Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a meteor caused explosions in the area;