The number of injured has continued to rise through the day as new reports come in from across a swath of central Russia.
As of late afternoon local time, the Interior Ministry said about 1,000 people had been hurt, including more than 200 children, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.
Most of those hurt are in the Chelyabinsk region, the news agency said. The vast majority of injuries are not thought to be serious.
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About 3,000 buildings have sustained damage -- mostly broken glass -- as a result of the shock waves caused by the blast, the news agency reported.
Vladimir Stepanov, of the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry, earlier told state media that hospitals, kindergartens and schools were among those affected.
About 20,000 emergency response workers have been mobilized, RIA Novosti reported.
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Amateur video footage showed a bright white streak moving rapidly across the sky, before exploding with an even brighter flash and a deafening bang.
The explosion occurred about 9:20 a.m. local time, as many people were out and about.
CNN iReporter and Instagram user Max Chuykov saw the meteor trail from the city of Yekaterinburg. He shared on Instagram that it was "close to the ground."
Witness Ekaterina Shlygina posted to CNN iReport and wrote on Instagram: "Upon Chelyabinsk a huge fireball has exploded. It wasn't an aircraft."
The national space agency, Roscosmos, said scientists believed one meteoroid had entered the atmosphere, where it burned and disintegrated into fragments, according to RIA Novosti.
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The resulting meteorites are believed to be scattered across three regions of Russia, one of them Chelyabinsk, as well as neighboring Kazakhstan, the news agency said.
One large chunk was discovered in a lake in the Chelyabinsk region, RIA Novosti cited the Chelyabinsk governor as saying.
A spokesman for the Emergency Ministry for the Chelyabinsk region told CNN earlier Friday that 524 people there were injured and 34 hospitalized.
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