Impact Effects

Gareth Collins, Robert Marcus, and H. Jay Melosh

Please note: the results below are estimates based on current (limited) understanding of the impact process and come with large uncertainties; they should be used with caution, particularly in the case of peculiar input parameters. All values are given to three significant figures but this does not reflect the precision of the estimate. For more information about the uncertainty associated with our calculations and a full discussion of this program, please refer to this article

Click each effect button (e.g. "Crater") to see the extent of each impact effect!

Your Inputs:

Projectile diameter: 140.00 meters ( = 459.00 feet )
Projectile Density: 3000 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 17.00 km per second ( = 10.60 miles per second )
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 2750 kg/m3
Target Type: Crystalline Rock


Energy before atmospheric entry: 6.23 x 1017 Joules = 1.49 x 102 MegaTons TNT
The average interval between impacts of this size somewhere on Earth during the last 4 billion years is 1.5 x 104years

Major Global Changes:

The Earth is not strongly disturbed by the impact and loses negligible mass.
The impact does not make a noticeable change in the tilt of Earth's axis (< 5 hundreths of a degree).
The impact does not shift the Earth's orbit noticeably.

Atmospheric Entry:

The projectile begins to breakup at an altitude of 54000 meters = 177000 ft
The projectile reaches the ground in a broken condition. The mass of projectile strikes the surface at velocity 11.8 km/s = 7.36 miles/s
The energy lost in the atmosphere is 3.20 x 1017 Joules = 7.65 x 101 MegaTons.
The impact energy is 3.03 x 1017 Joules = 7.23 x 101MegaTons.
The larger of these two energies is used to calculate the airblast damage.
The broken projectile fragments strike the ground in an ellipse of dimension 0.822 km by 0.581 km

Crater Dimensions:

What does this mean?

Crater shape is normal in spite of atmospheric crushing; fragments are not significantly dispersed.

Transient Crater Diameter: 1.89 km ( = 1.17 miles )
Transient Crater Depth: 667 meters ( = 2190 feet )

Final Crater Diameter: 2.36 km ( = 1.46 miles )
Final Crater Depth: 502 meters ( = 1650 feet )
The crater formed is a simple crater

The floor of the crater is underlain by a lens of broken rock debris (breccia) with a maximum thickness of 233 meters ( = 763 feet ).
At this impact velocity ( < 12 km/s), little shock melting of the target occurs.

Tell me more...

Click here for a pdf document that details the observations, assumptions, and equations upon which this program is based. It describes our approach to quantifying the important impact processes that might affect the people, buildings, and landscape in the vicinity of an impact event and discusses the uncertainty in our predictions. The processes included are: atmospheric entry, impact crater formation, fireball expansion and thermal radiation, ejecta deposition, seismic shaking, and the propagation of the atmospheric blast wave.

Recent improvements in the airblast calculation are described here.

Earth Impact Effects Program Copyright 2004, Robert Marcus, H.J. Melosh, and G.S. Collins
These results come with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY