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The source of loud "booms" accompanied by a bright object traveling through the skies of Nevada and California on Sunday morning has been confirmed: It was a meteor. A big one. It is thought to have been a small asteroid that slammed into the atmosphere at a speed of 15 kilometers per second (33,500 mph), turning into a fireball, and delivering an energy of 3.8 kilotons of TNT as it broke up over California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, went on to say that the meteor likely penetrated very deep into the atmosphere, producing the powerful sonic booms that rattled homes across the region. Cooke has been able to estimate the mass of the incoming object -- around 70 metric tons. This was a fairly hefty piece of space rock. He was also able to arrive at an approximate size of the meteor: about the size of a minivan."
Interestingly, the estimated size of the California fireball is bigger than the small 3-meter-wide asteroid that exploded over Sudan in 2008. That one delivered an energy of 1.1–2.1 kilotons of TNT. Asteroid 2008 TC3 was actually the first-ever space rock to be detected before it hit the Earth's atmosphere.