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Impact of Meteor or Asteroid

Impact of Meteor or Asteroid

Impact of Meteors or Asteroid Impact of Meteors or Asteroid



When a Meteor or Asteroid Hits Earth

Recent studies show that the likelihood of a meteor crashing on earth is ten times greater than we formerly thought. A few months back, a sizable meteor burst over a Russian city smashing most of the building windows in its impact.

A meteor explosion occurred over Chelyabinsk last February 15 is the first ever meteor impact that has been video-recorded and it has caused considerable damage and a few injuries. It may be the biggest airburst that happened on earth since the 1908 incident at Tunguska event which is also in Russia. A sizable chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteorite weighed almost 1,500 pounds which is, to date, the biggest fragment discovered.

The extermination of the dinosaurs during the Jurassic period more than 60 million years ago is largely believed to have been caused by a gigantic asteroid impact. The point of impact is at the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico is the most commonly accepted point of impact and basing on the size of the crater, scientists have computed the size of the meteor to be around 10 kilometers in diameter.

When an asteroid hits the earth, the huge kinetic energy of the asteroid travelling at incredibly high speed is, to some extent, transmitted to the earth and is converted into sound and heat energy. This, in turn, creates enormous pressure waves just like ripples in the water travelling outwards from the poi8nt of impact.

Aside from the blast created on impact, a dust storm will also be generated, something that is similar to a nuclear winter event. The massive size and density of the dust clouds will block out sunlight resulting in the death of plants, and eventually other forms of life. In reality, asteroids that have a radius of between five and ten meters can produce the same damaging effect as the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. Fortunately, they are too small they disintegrate before they reach the earth’s surface.  The comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which hit the surface of Jupiter in 1995 created an explosion similar to what 6 million megatons of TNT can do.

If an asteroid penetrates the earth’s atmosphere and hits land, it would generate a tremendous amount of energy. For example, 14 years from now, an asteroid will pass earth closely with a speed of 30,000 miles per hour. It will miss the earth, fortunately. But if a similar asteroid hits our planet, it can generate an explosion equal to a 1 million megaton bomb, a blast that would literally wipe out all human forms on earth.