Re: Asteroid exposion energy distribution.

Adam Crowl (
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 03:49:12 PST


Energy breakdown... we really need to know the statistics of Earth's
known impactors and an estimate of the impactors we don't know about.
There's some mighty big ones just waiting to be found, or so suggests
the data.

>From: "Allen Roy" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: Asteroid exposion energy distribution.
>Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 21:51:37 -0700
>> From: Massie <>
>> The energy dumped onto the earth by all asteroid impacts that are
>> is enourmous. If the YEC natural history encompases the concept that
>> these known asteriod impacts occured during the flood development
>> then this is a lot of energy to put onto the surface of the planet in
>> short period of time.
>It remains to be seen how the quantity of energy supplied by the
>compares with solar insolation over the same time period (about 150
days or
>perhaps a year). I'm still researching this.

Tell us what you find. Any of you geophysical types who knows a good
reference or two? Some of us can't go to a handy University everyday.

>The kinetic energy of the asteroid is NOT primarily converted to heat.
>Upon striking the ground (including water) the asteroid will explode
>an atomic bomb explosion but without the atomic radiation fallout.
That sounds like heat conversion to me. Basic crater creation equations
I've seen involve the impactor converting into a near plasma if there's
been no significant decceleration by the atmosphere.

>When the bomb fell on Hiroshima, it was not the light generated that
>destroyed the city. It was not the heat generated that destroyed the
> It was the tremendous shock wave which destroyed the city.
True, but that energy was a relatively small fraction of the explosions
output. Once the shockwave dissipated heat's what it became, but it had
spread over such a wide area the average temperature rise was minimal.
However under the fall of hundreds of thousands of impactors of all
sizes, as implied by the present statistics of meteoroid falls and the
Interplanetary dust in the ocean sediments the heat input would be
substantial. How much? I'm still working on it too.

>To be sure, there was a second or two of blinding light. There was
>searing heat for a short time. But the majority of the energy created
>the explosion was used in the shock wave.

Was it? We need some quantitative analysis here. Remember a lot of heat
is still in the fireball, that's rising into the stratosphere. In the
case of an impactor a lot of energy has gone into debris which will then
rain down at near orbital speeds around the globe in a big enough

>Thus we can conclude that the major part of the energy of the asteroids
>will be disipated by shock waves in the air, by evaporation and
>mega-tsunami in water, and by rocks and dust thrown into the atmosphere
>along with P and S waves in the ground. There will be some primary
>generated by the explosion. Secondary heat will also be generated by
>following fires, volcanism and plate tectonics.
As well as infalling ejecta...

Perhaps we should lay-off this aspect of our discussion til we have a
better quantitative description.


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