Looking back at some of the most famous asteroids to hit earth

Looking back at some of the most famous asteroids to hit earth
Aidan Wallace
August 24, 2019
August 24, 2019 4:00 PM EDT
A meteorite trail is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, on February 15, 2013. A heavy meteor shower rained down today on central Russia, sowing panic as the hurtling space debris smashed windows and injured dozens of stunned locals, officials said. Getty Images
Here’s a look at some of the most well-known impact events in earth’s history.
Chicxulub Crater, Mexico:
The most well-known impact event is the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico which is the impact site of the meteor that wiped the dinosaurs off the face of the earth.
Approximately 65 million years ago a single meteor estimated to be anywhere from 10-80 kilometres large, hit the Yucatán Peninsula off the coast of Mexico.
The resulting extinction-level event didn’t just kill the dinosaurs, it also decimated most of the earth’s plant life.
The fear of an asteroid similar to the one that hit the earth back then is one reason why tracking asteroids and planetary defence has become a pressing scientific discussion.
Tunguska, Russia:
In 1908, more than 5000 square kilometres of forest were destroyed after an asteroid entered the earth’s atmosphere in Russia, exploding in what is called an ‘air blast’. As a result, there is no crater present.
An air blast occurs when an asteroid enters the earth’s atmosphere at a low angle, causing a great deal of friction and energy which leads it to explode before it can reach the surface.
The low trajectory causes the asteroids to “light up like fireballs,” Caillin Gallinger, a Host at the Ontario Science Centre says.
Chelyabinsk, Russia:
Another air burst similar to the one in Tunguska occurred in 2013 on Feb. 15. NASA described the event five years later, writing, “A blinding flash, a loud sonic boom, and shattered glass everywhere. This is what the people of Chelyabinsk, Russia, experienced five years ago when an asteroid exploded over their city.”
It entered the atmosphere at a staggering 17 kilometres per second, blowing apart 22 kilometres of ground.
The force of the blast was equivalent to 440,000 tons of TNT and injured 1,600 people.
Gallinger said that if either the Tunguska or Chelyabinsk asteroids had been on a different trajectory, they might have made it to the earth’s surface causing even more damage.
Barringer Crater, Arizona:
Approximately 50,000 years ago a meteorite struck the earth’s surface in what is now Arizona, creating the Barringer Crater.
The crater is 1,300 metres across and it’s suspected to have been created by a 300,000-ton nickel-iron meteor.
Crater’s are interesting in that the actual impact site left behind is due to the meteor exploding, causing it to blow out the circular crater shape, Gallinger says.

That cloud was left by asteroid? Nice. As long as it doesn't look like a mushroom cloud.

Similar Threads

The mother of near-Earth asteroids.
by B00Mer | Aug 21st, 2017
The earth Hour is back!
by SirJosephPorter | Mar 16th, 2011