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Here’s how an asteroid impact would kill you

Winds and shock waves are most deadly, computer simulations of 1.2 million hits suggest

By
7:00am, May 2, 2017
asteroid hitting Earth

DEATH FROM THE SKIES  Computer simulations reveal that most of the lethality of an earthbound asteroid (illustrated) comes from gusting winds and shock waves.

It won’t be a tsunami. Nor an earthquake. Not even the crushing impact of the space rock. No, if an asteroid kills you, gusting winds and shock waves from falling and exploding space rocks will most likely be to blame. That’s one of the conclusions of a recent computer simulation effort that investigated the fatality risks of more than a million possible asteroid impacts.

In one extreme scenario, a simulated 200-meter-wide space rock whizzing 20 kilometers per second whacked London, killing more than 8.7 million people. Nearly three-quarters of that doomsday scenario’s lethality came from winds and shock waves, planetary scientist Clemens Rumpf and colleagues report online March 27 in Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

In a separate report, the researchers looked at 1.2 million potential

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