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Meteorite Crater

I’m not expecting anyone to know the answer to this question, but I’ll ask it anyways.

How big would a meteorite needs to be for me to feel it? This assumes it were to hit the earth exactly halfway around the world from my position.

To provide some background, a few weeks ago I was reading about the worlds largest metorite craters. I learned that the largest was a 10-kilometer-wide meteor (6 miles) which slammed into Earth. This was in South Africa, and it left a 300 km (186 miles) wide crater.

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  1. I can’t tell you what size, but exactly half-way around the world is the (second) last place you want a big one to hit, because the spherical shock waves will converge on your location before heading back around to where they came. I believe the shockwave from the Tsar Bomba travelled 3 times around the earth, and that was only 50MT… Anything close to a 10km meteorite exactly halfway around the world and you’d be fucked up 🙂

  2. I consulted Bill Bryson’s “A short History of Nearly Everything” on this, he writes quite a bit about meteorites and actually describes what would happen if a 6 mile meteorite was to hit the earth. It’s not all good news:

    Even if you didn’t feel the actual force of the initial impact from the other side of the globe in a strict “was that a meteorite impact I just felt” sort of way, the action wouldn’t stop there. The meteorite would throw up about 1000 km3 of dust, debris and gases and set off a chainreaction of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

    Within an hour the dustclouds would have enveloped the earth and burning rocks and other debris would be raining down here, there and everywhere. Estimated bodycount of 1.5 billion the first day. After that, the dustclouds would pretty much stick around and block out the sunlight for a few months or years, so your sun tan would be severely affected and “Earth’s ability to support life would be universally diminished.”

    But what surprised me most was that there are so many bits of rock moving around in space that it’s nobody’s able to keep track of them all, so the first warning that we would get of a huge meteorite heading in our direction would probably be the flash of light as it entered the earth’s atmosphere. But even if it was discovered months in advance, the most constructive thing anyone could do is probably to crack open a beer and chill out. Not to sound apocalyptic or anything.