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Evaluating Reaction Of A Giant Asteroid Making A Splash Into The Sea

First Posted: Dec 19, 2016 06:04 AM EST
Giant Asteroid 2009ES Heading Toward Earth 2016
What could possibly occur when a huge asteroid strikes the sea?
(Photo : Gagare1952/YouTube screenshot)

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory wanted to evaluate what could possibly occur when a huge asteroid strikes the sea. They found the results to be extremely fascinating. The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

The study spearheaded by Galen Gisler and team from ANL employed supercomputers to gauge the impact of a speeding space rock hitting the ocean.

The results turned out to be quite surprising. Gisler and the team used simulated experiments to find that waves created from point sources just vanished at a quick pace. They did not expand or grow as it was predicted, reveals Gizmodo.

Scientists still need to probe on a worrying matter -- the effects of water vapor. The water vapor that comes out after a giant and hot meteor strikes the ocean could cause some  significant effects on the climate.

Explaining the concern, Gisler said that a huge meteor coming in extremely hot is capable of vaporizing close to 250 metric megatons of water. He also said that the water vapor, which eventually reaches the stratosphere, continues to remain there for some time. The powerful greenhouse gas can actually affect the climate in a big way.

The silver lining is that most asteroids never manage to reach the Earth. The small ones almost always explode mid-way.

Gisler's models have also demonstrated that when airburst meteors actually strike the ocean, they are less potent. They produce smaller waves and stratospheric water vapor. Explaining the phenomenon, Gisler said that the airburst reduces the powerful effect of the asteroid hitting the water. In his analysis, asteroids hitting the ocean is a safer prospect for humans than those that strike the land.

Gisler also added that if an asteroid strikes on a shoreline that is thickly populated, there is bound to be a huge disaster.

 

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