Apocalypse sized meteor. How big and speed?

  • Thread starter royzizzle
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  • #1
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I'm pondering right now how to design a bunker that would have the greatest chance to withstand apocalypse

First I need to know:

-How fast does the meteor have to be to wipe out 99% of all life on the earth

-How deep does the meteor dig and what magnitude earth tremors and what speed and height tidal waves.

-how will the above two differ depending on if it hits ocean, flat land, or mountain.

Then for the bunker:

-how deep does the bunker need to be placed underground?

-maximizing storage capacity with mechanical toughness

-what stresses does the bunker need to withstand?

-how much food? steady source of water?

-how much time before it is safe to walk outside?

-transportation device to move above ground?



What are some other factors to consider and does anyone have answers to my questions?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
tiny-tim
Science Advisor
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hi royzizzle! :smile:

nice to see someone taking these things seriously!
-How fast does the meteor have to be to wipe out 99% of all life on the earth

all meteors have roughly the same speed, since they're all in orbit round the sun with much large aphelion than the Earth's

it's really only the size that matters (and where it lands)
-How deep does the meteor dig and what magnitude earth tremors and what speed and height tidal waves.

-how will the above two differ depending on if it hits ocean, flat land, or mountain.

it really doesn't matter …

unless it's a direct hit on the bunker, any reasonably well constructed waterproof bunker should survive any impact
-how deep does the bunker need to be placed underground?

deep enough to be thermally insulated against the extreme temperatures
-what stresses does the bunker need to withstand?

hardly anything
-how much food? steady source of water?

-how much time before it is safe to walk outside?

-transportation device to move above ground?

once the air temperature has fallen, it should be safe …

there's no radioactive fallout, though you might want a hanky over your mouth if there's still dust etc in the air

the only real danger will be other people

choose somewhere near a lake, so you have a reasonable supply of fresh water
 
  • #3
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AFAIK, an asteroid that was big enough to kill 99% of life - doesn't have to be very big, and only a fraction of that life will be inside the blast radius. The dust / heat / climate change / tides are what would kill life off over a number of years.

So the main things you need, are a TV, an xbox, and 500,000 cans of cold baked beans.
 
  • #4
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Wow, thanks for all the answers.

May I get a quantitative answer for the size of the meteor and a temperature for the initial firestorm?

also, would i need compressed air for breathing during the initial phase? (im assuming the ventilation system will be screwed by the earth tremors)

will natural water still be drinkable from all the dusty fallout? (water filtration should be easy)

again thanks for answers
 
  • #5
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I believe the dinosaur asteroid (if this is indeed the cause) is estimated to be ~ 10km in diameter. I found some interesting facts for you:

The following data about Near-Earth Objects are from the Anglo-Australian Observatory's research astronomer Duncan Steel's book Rouge Asteroids and Doomsday Comets.
About 2,000 objects massive enough (1 km diameter) to cause global catastrophe are known to cross Earth's orbit. Such an impacting object would wipe out 25% of humanity.
About 10,000 objects of 500 m size cross Earth's orbit.
About 300,000 objects of 100 m size cross Earth's orbit.
About 150 million objects of 10 m size cross Earth's orbit.
Some 70% of potential impactors are asteroids; the rest are comets.
About 50% of the Earth-crossing asteroids most likely are extinct or dormant comets.

Pea-size meteoroids - 10 per hour
Walnut-size - 1 per hour
Grapefruit-size - 1 every 10 hours
Basketball-size - 1 per month
50-m rock that would destroy an area the size of New Jersey - 1 per 100 years
1-km asteroid - 1 per 100,000 years
2-km asteroid - 1 per 500,000 years
A "nemesis" parabolic comet impactor would give us only a 6-month warning.



And these are from pretty old statistics. I know that the rate of asteroid detection has increased immensely, so I'm sure the numbers are far higher now
 
  • #6
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you have got to be kidding!?! You would not survive a meteor impact that wipes out 99% of "all" life. The aftereffects would last for 100,000 years, and thats a lot of beans. The atmosphere would change as O2 levels drop dramatically. The tsunami would likely drown you or scoop the earth your shelter would be buried in and drag it into the ocean. The volcanic eruptions that would be caused from such an event would bury you under a mile of ash, then the resulting ice age would scrape you into oblivion. So how to survive such an event? Easy...buy a seat on the space station, but you would still be likely to starve, but the show would be awesome.
 
  • #7
862
306
The Chicxulub Event, IIRC, set fire to much of the surrounding continents' plant cover and scattered flaming stuff half-way around the globe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

You would not have to worry about radioactivity per WW3, but the amount of dust and smoke and chemical smog in the air would be grim. You would need robust filtering arrangements, which would need powering. And your generator would need careful filtering lest it choke.

Then, there's the 'Impact Winter' to contend with, while the soot washes out of the stratosphere.

You'll need seed stocks to establish your vegetable garden, fruit-bush stems for vitamins, fruit and lumber tree saplings, greenhouses ( plastic tunnels and dome kits ?) to grow your essentials. Plus spares lest an unseasonal storm or frost or locusts come through. A couple of wind generators would be useful, plus a wind-pump to access local aquifer-- You cannot trust surface water until the muck washes out. Uh, you'll be veggie unless you take breeding stock and food for them. Ponies rather than horses for riding and pack-carrying-- Plus they're tougher and eat less...

Uh, have you a gas well handy ?? You can cook, run generators and refrigeration / heat-pump with that, and liquid fuel is better kept for vehicles. Don't forget the workshop with lathe, mill/drill etc and ample bar-stock. A small forge would become essential, as methane / compressed air welding isn't too good and you'll need horse-shoes...

FWIW, an oxygen concentrator would be useful long-term, as folk suffer from asthma and bronchitis due dust inhalation. A dehumidifier would keep the clamminess down, reduce the air-exchanges required per hour and, consequently, the load on the air filters. It will, incidentally, wash a lot of the 'human stink' such as ammonia out of the air. You will need CO2 meters to be sure, to be sure...

IMHO, you're talking five years before the surface starts to recover. The logistics mean 'extended family' at a minimum, village is better.

That's a LOT of stuff. And, of course, you need to disperse it against the chance of roof collapse or subsidence given the mega-quake from a big impact. You're probably talking three identical bunkers rather than one big one. Economies of scale, too. You'll need a lot of concrete and re-bar, but burying chains of 6-foot concrete sewer pipes is probably a useful short-cut to cubic footage.

There's another issue-- Stock rotation. Unless you know when the world ends --Before the mad rush begins-- you must plan to use and replace your consumables...

Don't forget the books, lots and lots of books. LED lighting will help there...
 
  • #9
862
306
FWIW, rather than plant wheat or other grains initially, with severe risk of losses due to wild weather and foul pollution, you might have to subsist on potatoes grown in barrels...

Also, when the weather settles down a bit, something like barley, usually grown in cooler, wetter climes under cloudy skies, might be more robust than wheat or corn...
 
  • #11
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More important then the shelter and supplies might be where it was. Provided that the impact was not very close by I imagine that a location in a mountainous region would be best. This sort of area would allow you the possibility to migrate to either lower or higher altitudes as required by conditions.

A high altitude plateau surrounded by mountains might be the best choice. Such an area might be sheltered by the mountains. Higher altitude mountain "farm land" might also not be effected by impact by products: sunlight reduction would be less of a problem shortly (read decades) after the impact. Having access to both higher and lower altitudes would let you adapt.

Rocky mountains or Himalayas?
 
  • #12
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Seems to me that the most important supply you could possibly lay in would be lots and lots of MONEY. Won't be much use post-impact, but I can pretty much guarantee you George Soros' asteroid shelter is better than yours.
 

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