The 10-ton meteor that caused chaos and devastation when it exploded over the Ural mountains could have struck Britain if the timing had been slightly different, scientists have said.

The region around Chelyabinsk is on the same latitude as northern Britain, 55 degrees north, the Guardian reported.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii said that had the meteorite's timing been only a few hours different, it could have caused widespread damage.

meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk

Any city that was struck by the larger asteroid, 2012 DA14 which grazed Earth later that day, would have been obliterated.

The university is building a asteroid warning system, Atlas: Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System, which will consist of a series of eight telescopes, each fitted with powerful cameras, that would give warnings of between one to three weeks of incoming meteorites.

Russian authorities have 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.

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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;