A new paper could change how we understand the huge asteroids that have smashed into our planet over the years, and the next one that is coming.
An incredible new study has come to some fascinating conclusions about the effects of a huge asteroid smashing into Earth, and it may surprise you which effects would be the most devastating for mankind out of seven identified by scientists. You might think that the tsunamis and heat would be the deadliest effects of an asteroid strike, but you’d be wrong.
In fact, it would be the winds and the shock waves that would cause the most devastation if a huge asteroid struck the Earth. Winds would reach up to 1,000 miles per hour and intense shock waves would account for 60 percent of lives lost, compared to the other five effects: tsunamis, seismic shaking, cratering, flying debris, and heat, according to the paper.
Although an asteroid strike in the ocean is most commonly depicted in Hollywood disaster movies, a strike on land would be more devastating.
The researchers’ findings are based on computer models, which tested 50,000 artificial asteroids ranging between 49 and 1,312 feet across, and they only measured the asteroid’s immediate impact and didn’t consider longer term environmental changes.
“This is the first study that looks at all seven impact effects generated by hazardous asteroids and estimates which are, in terms of human loss, most severe,” said Clemens Rumpf, a senior research assistant at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.