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Re: Severity Of Asteroid Impact

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Posted by Kip Crawford on December 12, 1999 06:19:04 UTC

Your math seems sound enough. Indeed it is a good question. You already know that smaller meteors make big craters. The one in Arizona is almost a mile wide. It was caused by a meteor 60 feet wide at a speed of 40,000 mph! When meteors hit the earth with a large mass of pure iron on contact it literly vaporizes and causes a huge amount of friction and heat and a big hole. The energy released is astounding. The Arizona crater impact area is in a 40 mile radius! If a comet of 6 miles in diameter were to hit the earth, it would and probably will destroy almost all life. The earth itself can sustain hits like that easy. But when the energy is released in a confined atmosphere, weather patterns change drastically, dust particals from the comet will cover the sky. It could make a plume 5 miles or more in the sky. One good example of a non-impact meteor event was in Siberia in 1908. The meteor vaporized in the atmosphere before impact, but the energy released was enormous. It flattened trees for miles around. I probably didn't answer your question but there are some websites you can go to.

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