The bus-sized meteor, which weighed 11,000 tons, detonated about 15 miles above the surface, sending out a burst of energy 30 times greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Various satellite observations revealed that hundreds of tons of dust remained in the upper atmosphere for a full two months following the explosion.
It took only four days for the dust to blow all the way around the world and again pass over Chelyabinsk.
“Indeed, we saw the formation of a new dust belt in Earth’s stratosphere, and achieved the first space-based observation of the long-term evolution of a bolide plume,” said NASA Goddard atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi.
The latest climate models accurately predicted the path and density of the dust belt, which raced around the Northern Hemisphere at about 190 mph (300 km/h).
The findings on the bolide’s dust belt have been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Photo: NASA's Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio