SCUBA DIVERS scoured the bottom of a Russian lake for fragments of a meteorite that plunged to Earth in a blinding fireball whose shockwave injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes.
The 10-tonnes meteor streaked across the Urals region on Friday just as the world braced for a close encounter with a large asteroid that left some Russian officials calling for the creation of a global system of space object defence.
Divers discovered a six-metre (20-foot) hole in the ice of a frozen lake, reportedly the site of a meteor fall, outside the town of Chebakul in the Chelyabinsk region. This is where they have been searching for remains of the meteor shower.
Russian authorities estimate the meteor that exploded in the sky over the Ural Mountains region caused more than $US30 million ($A29.12 million) in damage.
“Around 100,000 homeowners were affected (by Friday’s incident). The damage is estimated at more than 1 billion rubles ($US30 million),” the governor of the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk, Mikhail Yurevich, said at a press conference.
He added that 30 per cent of the windows shattered by shockwaves that rocked that part of the country, where temperatures on Saturday dipped to -20C, have already been repaired.
The remaining windows will be repaired over the next week, except for some large ones built in the Soviet era that will require weeks to fix.
Yurevich said the building most seriously damaged by the shockwaves was the Chelyabinsk ice rink.
Local authorities estimate that 1200 people were injured, most of them by flying glass.
The unpredicted meteor strike ground traffic to a halt in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk as residents poured out on the streets to watch the light show before hovering for safety when a sonic boom rang out