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Asteroid strike

Thursday, 15 April 2004

If you’ve ever wondered what effect a nearby asteroid strike might have on your neighbourhood then wonder no longer.

Astronomers and geologists at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab have put together a web page on which you can describe an event then find the size of the crater and the Richter Scale Magnitude of the resulting seismic effects. Amongst other things.

I entered the details of a fairly small asteroid hitting central London at the lowest possible impact velocity. Although I wouldn’t end up inside the crater, if I were at home, I’d still experience an earth tremor of 4.5 on the Richter scale which would be enough to make my flat rattle quite a lot. The 185 km/h1 winds would shatter my windows and blow down 30% of the trees around here. Bye-bye trees. Such an event happens somewhere on the Earth once every 75 years. Shudder.

1 for the metrically challenged that’s 115 mph

Posted 15 April 2004, 19:29 BST

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