Impact Craters

If a five mile wide comet hit the Earth, how much damage would it do? What about if it hit sedimentary rock - would the crater be bigger or smaller than if it hit crystalline rock? Were the makers of the movie Deep Impact even close to getting things correct?

A University of Arizona website lets you find out what sort of impact would result from your own design of comet or asteroid. You can choose the size, density, velocity, angle of impact and then place yourself however many miles/kilometres you like from the impact site. Once you've filled it the details, the site will tell you what the conditions are likely to be where you are. You can find out vital information such as the local wind speed caused by the blast, the size of the crater, how long you would be irradiated for, how long it would take the ejecta to reach you and much more.

Most lumps of rock that I tried caused big craters and destroyed large areas of the surface of the planet but it turns out that to alter the rotation rate of the Earth or alter its orbit, you need a truly huge impact - we are talking about a collision with an object bigger than Moon. Mind you, if you've read How to Destroy the Earth you already know that destroying the planet is much harder than you may have been led to believe. Thankfully the current Earth-Destruction Alert Level is at "Green".

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 15th Oct 2005 (00:13 UTC) | Permalink
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