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How many megatons was the chixculub meteor impact equal to?

  1. Jan 18, 2013 #1
    How many megatons was the pre-historic chixculub meteor impact equal to?

    This was estimated to be millions of times more powerful than the cumulative explosive power of all of the nuclear weapons in the world combined.

    It caused the extinction of most life on Earth during that time (namely the dinosaurs) and even caused the oceans to evaporate. This meteor was about 6 miles in diameter.

    If a 6-mile meteor is capable of doing that, imagine the kind of damage an asteroid the size of Texas could do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2013 #2
    If you think that's bad, imagine the kind of damage an asteroid the size of Alaska might cause.
  4. Jan 18, 2013 #3
    I thought that Texas was about as big as they get?

    Apparently Mars was hit by a Texas-sized asteroid several billion years ago..

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  5. Jan 18, 2013 #4


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    Only in mediocre music-video-movies.

    The largest near earth asteroid (ie, in the asteroid belt) is much smaller, at 34 km: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/433_Eros

    But other objects from the outer solar system can be much, much larger. Eris, for example, is more than 2000 km in diameter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eris_(dwarf_planet [Broken])
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jan 19, 2013 #5
    Supposedly, billions of years ago, Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars.

    Somehow, the planet survived, and the fractured pieces of crust is what eventually formed the moon.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jan 21, 2013 #6
    Just being picky, but the moon is composed primarily of mantle material from the proto-Earth, rather than crust. The impact hypothesis only became plausible after we had had the opportunity to examine the Apollo rocks.
  8. Feb 24, 2013 #7


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    Wikipedia says 100 teratons, which is 100,000,000 megatons. Wise people will do their own math instead of trusting wikipedia, so if you want give it a try...

    One megaton is about 5x1015 Joules. The energy in Joules of the impact will be [itex]\frac{mv^2}{2}[/itex] where v is in meters/sec and m is in kilograms. Make some reasonable assumptions about the size, density, and speed of the meteor, and see what you come up with.
  9. Feb 25, 2013 #8
    A serious disruption of test cricket.
  10. Feb 25, 2013 #9

    jim hardy

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