Posted by Chris M Thursday, January 1, 2009

Earth Impact Simulator

Although this has been around for a few years, I just learned about this neat earth impact simulator from the University of Arizona's Department of Planetary Sciences. You enter your distance from the impact and the earth material the projectile hits, along with the size, density, angle, and speed of the projectile. It returns some of the effects of such an impact.

I went with
Distance from Impact: 100.00 km = 62.10 miles
Projectile Diameter: 2000.00 m = 6560.00 ft = 1.24 miles
Projectile Density: 1000 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 51.00 km/s = 31.67 miles/s
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 1000 kg/m3
Target Type: Liquid Water of depth 10.00 meters, over typical rock.

With such an impact, the results would be
Final Crater Diameter: 29.3 km = 18.2 miles
Visible fireball radius: 34.2 km = 21.2 miles
The fireball appears 77.7 times larger than the sun
Much of the body suffers third degree burns
The major seismic shaking will arrive at approximately 20 seconds.
Richter Scale Magnitude: 8.7
The ejecta will arrive approximately 144 seconds after the impact.
Average Ejecta Thickness: 1.36 m = 4.45 ft
The air blast will arrive at approximately 303 seconds.
Peak Overpressure: 844000 Pa = 8.44 bars = 120 psi
Max wind velocity: 693 m/s = 1550 mph

I am toast, literally!

There is even a paper describing how the simulator was created!
Collins, G. S., Melosh, H.J., Marcus, R. A. 2005. Earth Impact Effects Program: A Web-based computer program for calculating the regional environmental consequences of a meteoroid impact on Earth. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 40(6):817–840.