A bus-sized meteor exploded over a Russian city in February injuring 1,000 people and creating a "belt" of debris that wrapped around the entire globe.
Researchers concluded in a recent study that the dust left behind by the invading meteor lingered for at least three months, Space.com reported.
"Thirty years ago, we could only state that the plume was embedded in the stratospheric jet stream," Paul Newman, chief scientist for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's atmospheric science lab, said in a statement, according to Space.com. "Today, our models allow us to precisely trace the bolide and understand its evolution as it moves around the globe."
The 11,000-metric-ton meteor exploded 15 miles above Chelyabinsk with the force of the Hiroshima atom bomb. Debris rained to the ground casing damage and injury, but the dust from the explosion remained. The team figured out a way to measure and track the cloud.
"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," NASA Goddard atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavy, said.
The team discovered that just 3.5 hours after the explosion, dust was present at an altitude of at least 25 feet in the air and was traveling at 190 mph.
Only four days later scientists believe there was a "detectable belt" of debris surrounding the entire planet.
The belt was not particularly dense, other natural sources such as volcanos contribute a much larger density of particles to the stratosphere. About 30 metric tons of space dust hits the Earth every day from various causes.
The plume helped researchers better understand how particles behave in Earth's atmosphere.
They found the heavier particles were slower moving and traveled at a lower altitude, lighter material traveled at a speed and velocity similar to the wind.