Earth Impact Effects Program

Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins

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

Your Inputs:

Distance from Impact: 2000.00 km ( = 1240.00 miles )
Projectile diameter: 500.00 meters ( = 1640.00 feet )
Projectile Density: 1500 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 17.00 km per second ( = 10.60 miles per second )
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 1000 kg/m3
Target Type: Liquid water of depth 1000.0 meters ( = 3280.0 feet ), over crystalline rock.


Energy before atmospheric entry: 1.42 x 1019 Joules = 3.39 x 103 MegaTons TNT
The average interval between impacts of this size somewhere on Earth during the last 4 billion years is 1.1 x 105years

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 72500 meters = 238000 ft
The projectile reaches the ground in a broken condition. The mass of projectile strikes the surface at velocity 16.1 km/s = 10 miles/s
The energy lost in the atmosphere is 1.42 x 1018 Joules = 3.39 x 102 MegaTons.
The impact energy is 1.28 x 1019 Joules = 3.05 x 103MegaTons.
The larger of these two energies is used to estimate the airblast damage.
The broken projectile fragments strike the ground in an ellipse of dimension 1.36 km by 0.958 km

Crater Dimensions:

What does this mean?

The crater opened in the water has a diameter of 7.62 km ( = 4.73 miles ).

For the crater formed in the seafloor:
Crater shape is normal in spite of atmospheric crushing; fragments are not significantly dispersed.

Transient Crater Diameter: 1.56 km ( = 0.971 miles )
Transient Crater Depth: 553 meters ( = 1810 feet )

Final Crater Diameter: 1.95 km ( = 1.21 miles )
Final Crater Depth: 416 meters ( = 1360 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 193 meters ( = 633 feet ).
The volume of the target melted or vaporized is 563000 m3 = 1.99e+07 feet3
Roughly half the melt remains in the crater

Thermal Radiation:

What does this mean?

The fireball is below the horizon. There is no direct thermal radiation.

Seismic Effects:

What does this mean?

The major seismic shaking will arrive approximately 6.67 minutes after impact.
Richter Scale Magnitude: 5.5
Mercalli Scale Intensity at a distance of 2000 km:


What does this mean?

Almost no solid ejecta reaches this site.

Air Blast:

What does this mean?

The air blast will arrive approximately 1.68 hours after impact.
Peak Overpressure: 402 Pa = 0.00402 bars = 0.0571 psi
Max wind velocity: 0.946 m/s = 2.12 mph
Sound Intensity: 52 dB (Loud as heavy traffic)

Tsunami Wave:

What does this mean?

The impact-generated tsunami wave arrives approximately 5.8 hours after impact.

Tsunami wave amplitude is between: 1.0 meters ( = 3.3 feet) and 2.0 meters ( = 6.7 feet).

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