asteroid Archives

Overview of meteor impact hazard

Posted on February 24, 2013  /  0 Comments

Nalaka Gunawardene, a friend and colleague, has provided an overview of the hazards posed by near-earth objects. Thousands of pieces of cosmic debris enter our atmosphere every day — most are burned up before hitting the ground (producing harmless ‘shooting stars’). Larger pieces that crash-land are called meteorites. Even then, average ones are too small to cause much damage. Once in a while, a large enough piece comes along — as did on February 15 – which can be an asteroid or part of a comet.
What we noticed in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the randomness of the damage. Houses that were right next to each other were affected differently: one destroyed another untouched. This was supposed to be caused by the complex interaction of the wave and the topography of the coast. In the case of the meteor hit that affected the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk, the damage has also been random according to reports. Sometimes with glass containers within a home damaged while the windows were not.