How Much Energy Would a Meteorite Impact Release Compared to an Atomic Bomb?

• Kildars
In summary: Okay, so with that out of the way, let's continue.Fair enough. And thanks for helping out with homework questions. The more people helping, the better. Okay, so with that out of the way, let's continue.In summary, on August 10, 1972, a meteorite with a mass of 4 x 10^6 kg and a speed of 15 km/s skipped across the atmosphere above western United States and Canada, emitting a bright fireball that could be seen during the day. If it had impacted the Earth's surface vertically, it would have had the same speed. Using the equation for Kinetic Energy (KE = 1/2mv^2), the meteorite
Kildars

Homework Statement

On August 10, 1972, a large meteorite skipped across the atmosphere above western United States and Canada, much like a stone skipped across water. The accompanying fireball was so bright that it could be seen in the daytime sky (Fig. 7-24). The meteorite's mass was about 4 x 10^6 kg. Its speed was about 15 km/s. Had it entered the atmosphere vertically, it would have hit the Earth's surface with about the same speed.

(a) Calculate the meteorite's loss of kinetic energy (in joules) that would have been associated with the vertical impact.
J
(b) Express the energy as a multiple of the explosive energy of 1 megaton of TNT, which is 4.2 1015 J.
megaton TNT
(c) The energy associated with the atomic bomb explosion over Hiroshima was equivalent to 13 kilotons of TNT. To how many "Hiroshima bombs" would the meteorite impact have been equivalent?

Homework Equations

I'm pretty confused on how to start this one, I guess this unit I have been pretty lost the whole unit. So if someone could give me a good way of starting I would greatly appreciate it.

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What is the equation for the Kinetic Energy (KE) of a mass m moving with a velocity v? What happens to the KE when the mass is stopped suddenly like in an impact on the surface of the Earth?

berkeman said:
What is the equation for the Kinetic Energy (KE) of a mass m moving with a velocity v? What happens to the KE when the mass is stopped suddenly like in an impact on the surface of the Earth?

E = 1/2mv^2

Kinetic energy goes to 0 when it hits the surface, correct?

Kildars said:
E = 1/2mv^2

Kinetic energy goes to 0 when it hits the surface, correct?

Yep. Now calculate the KE of the meteorite in joules (1J = 1kg*m/s^2), and do the math for the problem. I'm kind of interested in that last answer myself.

berkeman said:
Yep. Now calculate the KE of the meteorite in joules (1J = 1kg*m/s^2), and do the math for the problem. I'm kind of interested in that last answer myself.

/confused.

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Kildars said:
/confused.

What is the KE of the meteorite before the impact (use that equation), expressed in joules like the problem statement says?

Find initial KE with $$KE=\frac{1}{2}mv^2$$. This answer, assuming you use kilograms for mass and meters/second for velocity, is in Joules. Convert from Joules to Megatons by << rest of complete answer deleted by berkeman >>

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americanforest said:
Find initial KE with $$KE=\frac{1}{2}mv^2$$. This answer, assuming you use kilograms for mass and meters/second for velocity, is in Joules. Convert from Joules to Megatons by << rest of complete answer deleted by berkeman >>

Please do not post almost-complete answers to homework questions. It is against forum guidelines, and does not help the student to learn anything.

berkeman said:
Please do not post almost-complete answers to homework questions. It is against forum guidelines, and does not help the student to learn anything.

Sorry. Won't happen again.

americanforest said:
Sorry. Won't happen again.

Fair enough. And thanks for helping out with homework questions. The more people helping, the better.

1. What is a meteorite?

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet or asteroid, that has entered the Earth's atmosphere and survived impact with the Earth's surface.

2. How does a meteorite release energy?

When a meteorite enters the Earth's atmosphere, it experiences intense friction and compression, causing it to heat up and release energy in the form of heat and light. If the meteorite is large enough, it may also create an explosion upon impact with the Earth's surface.

3. How much energy does a meteorite release?

The amount of energy released by a meteorite varies depending on its size, speed, and composition. Smaller meteorites may release energy equivalent to a few hundred tons of TNT, while larger ones can release energy equivalent to several megatons of TNT.

4. Can meteorite energy be harnessed for human use?

Currently, there is no practical way to harness the energy released by meteorites for human use. However, scientists are studying ways to potentially use meteorites as a source of rare elements and minerals.

5. Have any significant events been caused by meteorite energy?

Yes, there have been several significant events caused by meteorite energy, including the Tunguska event in 1908 and the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013. These events resulted in widespread damage and injuries, highlighting the potential danger of meteorites entering the Earth's atmosphere.

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