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: 5000.00 km ( = 3110.00 miles )
Projectile diameter: 50.00 km ( = 31.10 miles )
Projectile Density: 1000 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 51.00 km per second ( = 31.70 miles per second )
Impact Angle: 45 degrees
Target Density: 2500 kg/m3
Target Type: Sedimentary Rock


Energy before atmospheric entry: 8.51 x 1025 Joules = 2.03 x 1010 MegaTons TNT
The average interval between impacts of this size is longer than the Earth's age.
Such impacts could only occur during the accumulation of the Earth, between 4.5 and 4 billion years ago.

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).
Depending on the direction and location of impact, the collision may cause a change in the length of the day of up to 184 milliseconds.
The impact does not shift the Earth's orbit noticeably.

Crater Dimensions:

What does this mean?

Transient Crater Diameter: 251 km ( = 156 miles )
Transient Crater Depth: 88.9 km ( = 55.2 miles )

Final Crater Diameter: 519 km ( = 322 miles )
Final Crater Depth: 1.94 km ( = 1.21 miles )
The crater formed is a complex crater.
The volume of the target melted or vaporized is 535000 km3 = 128000 miles3
Roughly half the melt remains in the crater, where its average thickness is 10.8 km ( = 6.69 miles ).

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 16.7 minutes after impact.
Richter Scale Magnitude: 11.5 (This is greater than any earthquake in recorded history)
Mercalli Scale Intensity at a distance of 5000 km:


What does this mean?

The ejecta will arrive approximately 26.2 minutes after the impact.
At your position there is a fine dusting of ejecta with occasional larger fragments
Average Ejecta Thickness: 28.6 cm ( = 11.2 inches )
Mean Fragment Diameter: 116 microns ( = 4.57 thousandths of an inch )

Air Blast:

What does this mean?

The air blast will arrive approximately 4.21 hours after impact.
Peak Overpressure: 191000 Pa = 1.91 bars = 27.2 psi
Max wind velocity: 278 m/s = 621 mph
Sound Intensity: 106 dB (May cause ear pain)
Damage Description:

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