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A conversation on the Weekend Open Thread has gotten me thinking: what if the meteor of a day ago, the Blast Over the Chelyabinsk Oblast, had instead struck here?
Bear in mind, Chelyabinsk is no mere Inyo County. It’s a city of over a million located in an oblast (that’s a province, roughly like a small state) of 3.5 million, a little larger than Orange County. (Yes, its area is at least 40 or so times as large as OC — but isn’t that true of most places?) The meteor injured 1000 people and countless (at least at this point) panes of glass in and around Chelyabinsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, home of higher education institutions including South Ural State University — the sports teams of which, if I don’t miss my bet based on the city’s and oblast’s flag and coat of arms, have pretty much pretty much got to be nicknamed the Camels. (And has “Oblast” ever been a better name for a Russian state-equivalent? Actually, yes it has; this is a center of Russia’s defense industry. So they are not so very different from us, after all, especially in terms of cursing robustly when things fall from the skies and make big booms.)
No one died in the explosion (or whatever it is finally determined to have been), although about 1200 people sought medical treatment, mostly for injuries from broken glass and the supersonic boom from the 50,000+ mpg projectile most of which apparently made it only to within 20 miles of the surface. That means that we can just stipulate the same sort of non-fatal result here and ask: if an injurious meteor were to detonate (or whatever) over OC, where would be the worst place to be its unfortunate hypocenter?
In your answers, please do not tell us where the best place to be under the ‘splosion would have been — and if you can’t help yourself at least please try not to be personal, as in referencing certain people’s homes. Consider economic, human, political, reputational, social and recreational damage — plus, I guess, the benefits of “see where the meteor hit” tourism.