Compressed air beneath a large asteroid in the split second before impact would heat up five times hotter than the Sun’s surface! A ½km asteroid hitting Central Australia would devastate a radius of 250km, shake flat all the cities of Australia, and probably end civilized society worldwide. The banking system would go beserk, food distribution cease, government services terminate, and law and order end. Since 70% of Earth’s surface is water 70% of impacts will be in oceans. The first oceanic impact site was identified in 1987, 200 km south east of Nova Scotia. (New Scientist 1987 June 25) A mere 300 meter asteroid exploding into mid ocean would cause a splash 35 km high and tsunamis big enough to wipe out ¼ of humankind! This is because most major cities lie near sea level:
Berlin and Montreal (35 meters),
San Francisco, New York (20 meters),
Tokyo, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro (10 meters),
St Petersburg, Honolulu, Washington DC (7 meters),
New Orleans, Alexandria, Calcutta (3 meters).
Impacts of 200-300 meter asteroids average one in 10,000 years — and could also be an explanation of Noah’s Flood! (Verschuur 1996 pp. 166, 162) A 1km impact in deep water would instantly flash heat surrounding air and water to 30,000oC, turn thousands of cubic kilometers of water into high pressure steam and generate a wave that would still be 100 meters high 2,000km from the impact site! Upon reaching the continental shelf its height would multiply 20 times to two km — many times higher than skyscrapers! The wave from a 10km iron asteroid in mid ocean would be 3km high 1,000km from the impact site and upon reaching the shore — 100 km high!! (Verschurr 1996 p. 154) [It’s been calculated that a mere 300 meter high wave would advance 100km inland! — Hills & Goda 1993]
A 2 km asteroid impacting on land would kill half of humanity on the day by fire, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, billions of ejected boulders and rocks flying around, super hot winds and floods. Says Jon Murrie:The stuff reentering would look like lots and lots of shooting stars…like a glaring layer of material above you of several thousand degrees celsius…like being under a griller. (The Advertiser 1993 June 12)Most initial survivors would die later from consequences of soot and dust saturated air, acid rain mixed with toxic metals, food-chain destruction, famine and freezing temperatures.
If that sounds terrifying consider a 10km asteroid arriving at 25km per second on land. The energy released would be 117,000,000 megatons, equal to 9,000,000,000 (9 billion) Hiroshima bombs or over 2 million times the power of the largest nuclear device (57 megatons) exploded by humans!
A 200km wide crater would form. One million cubic km of rock would be ejected forming layer upon layer of glowing hot material circling the planet and causing a worldwide firestorm. Billions of shooting stars would fill the sky. Hundreds of reentering rocks would be over 100 meters wide — each by itself able to cause devastation across hundreds of kilometers. Impact energy transmitted through the planet could break open the opposite side causing massive lava flows. The sound of the initial impact would be heard around the planet. Part of Earth’s atmosphere would be blown off into space. A thousand kilometers from the impact winds of 1,000 km/h would flatten cities and sweep away the rubble! [Wind speeds of only 254-332 km/h “destroy well-constructed buildings” and winds of 333-419 km/h would level them! — Murck et al, 1997, p. 239]
Glowing layers of ash and dust circling the Earth would fry most creatures still surviving to death. The heat and winds would cause high evaporation and unimaginable downpours of steam and boiling water. Huge quantities of nitrogen oxides thrust into the sky would destroy the ozone layer and also cause enough acid rain to turn the oceans to dilute nitric/nitrous acid. After everything settles down the darkened skies blocking the sunlight would gradually turn Earth into a freezer!
Sometimes asteroid strikes may come in storms when comets break up. That happened to Jupiter in 1994. Duncan Steele (1995 pp.124-125) imagines hundreds of objects pelting Earth for days. Giant comets cross Earth’s orbit and create this risk on average every 100,000 years. (pp. 129-130)
The Asteroid Belt, a vast area of the Solar System orbiting like a huge doughnut around the Sun. The Belt is 175 million miles wide and 50 million miles thick. The material in the Belt travels at speeds up to 45,000 mph and ranges in size from dust particles to rock chunks as big as Alaska.
And the Earth can take that punishment , it has before and it will again.