Saturday, June 30, 2012

Top 10 Asteroid Impacts On Earth


10. Clearwater Lakes

Clearwater Lake Asteroid

The Clearwater lakes are twin lakes that formed at the same exact time in Northern Canada. The asteroids that made them were huge, at 16 miles and 22 miles respectively. The lakes are named after their clear water; that, and the fact that there are 25 lakes in the area also called “Clearwater lake” really says something about Canadian creativity. No one’s sure how two large asteroids managed to hit the same area at the same time. One expert says it may be because asteroids have their own small moons, or it may be that it used to be one big asteroid and split in two in our atmosphere.

9. Barringer Crater

Barringer Crater
Barringer Crater, also known simply as Meteor crater is a crater in Northern Arizona that was formed something like 50,000 years ago when an iron-metallic asteroid crashed into Earth while texting and driving. Experts estimate that it struck at approximately 45,000 miles per hour and produced an explosion of 10 megatons. Rest assured there weren’t many humansaround at this time, but the woolly mammoth sure had a rough time.

8. Lonar Crater Lake

Lonar Crater
Lonar Crater Lake is the site of meteorite impact in Maharashtra, India. Experts estimate the crater formed sometime in the Pleistocene Epoch. No one is certain how large the asteroid was, or how fast it was coming- but the geological effects on the surrounding area are astounding. While the lake is primarily salt water, there are sweet water pools that form around some its corners.

7. Lake Bosumtwi Crater

Bosumtwi Crater
Around a million years ago, an 11 kilometer wide asteroid decided it hated lush rainforests and hit Ghana, forming a rather large hole in the ground. Over time, the hole filled with rainwater and became the lake it is today. Local legend says that it is the home of a God, which is why it is forbidden to fish unless you use a wooden plank. Also, there is a massive resort there for rich white people.

6. The Cricket Match One

Cricket Match Asteroid
Alas, no good article is complete without the mention of cricket. In July 2010, a perfectly good cricket game was interrupted when a 4.5 billion year old meteorite decided to sneak into the stadium. Unfortunately, it broke in two when it hit the ground. The piece that broke off hit a guy, Jan Marszel, in the chest. In retaliation, he decided to keep the asteroid for “posterity” or as we like to call it “bragging to anyone that’ll listen”. Experts say it’s the first meteorite to hit the UK since 1992.

5. Tunguska, Siberia

Tunguska Asteroid

The Tunguska Event occurred in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in as early as 1908. It is one of the most famous modern asteroid impacts, mostly because it caused a poop-load of destruction and scarred the area for a while… basically nature’s way of saying “asteroids are supposed to suck.”

4. Chiling-Yang

Chiling Yang
Although the Tunguska event is one of the most powerful impacts in modern history, Chiling-Yang was probably the scariest humans ever faced. In 1490, an asteroid making its way over to Earth burst open in the atmosphere. Rather than burn up and give us a nice show, it decided to keep going in the form of hundreds of new meteorites. The people in Chiling-Yang, China understandably began to panic. Its unknown how many people died, but Ming Dynasty records put it at 10,000. Damn.

3. The Moon Formation

Moon Formation Asteroid
Ever wonder how the moon came about? There’s no way it was always just there, right? There are a number of theories, ranging from a massive earthquake that split the Earth in half (yeah, okay hippie) or that the moon has just always been around. But the most agreed upon theory is that when Earth was still forming, an asteroid the size of freaking Mars hit us square and center. The resulting explosion was enough for Earth to give birth to what we call the Moon today. That’s probably why lunar samples show that the moon has the same composition that proto-Earth had.

2. The Dinosaur One

Dinosaur Asteroid
We’ve all heard of this one. One of the most famous theories about the extinction of all dinosaurs is that they were wiped out by an asteroid. Actually, recently, an international panel of 41 experts in the field unanimously agreed that an asteroid  wiped them out. The asteroid, which was 15 kilometers in diameter, hit the Earth at- get this- one billion times the force of the atom bomb. Read that again, we’ll wait. The resulting mess resulted in a hundreds-of-years-long global winter, which in turn killed the dinosaurs.

1. Hermes

Hermes Asteroid
None of the above really matter… they were all so long ago, and we weren’t around then. Just wait for this next one and you’ll see why we should be afraid. Why we should be very afraid. Back in 1937, very few people cared about space. Unfortunately, that’s when we very much should have been. At that time the asteroid Hermes was passing by and came extremely close to hitting the Earth. Although it was relatively small at only 1 kilometer in diameter, given its speed, experts predict that the asteroid could have caused… Well, we’ll put it this way. When an asteroid that size hit Jupiter, the impact zone was  “many time the size of Earth”. You make up your mind.
Back then, no one believed the astronomer that tracked it. So, it returned at the same velocity and distance in 1980 right as scientists were trying to convince everyone that an asteroid can actually hit Earth. Is that irony? We can’t tell.
by Mohammed Shariff, a freelance writer that can be added here and followed here. His social security number is hidden somewhere in this article. The first one to find it gets a prize!