How to Vapourise London

Hypothetically speaking, anyway…

According to this funky little impact calculator widget, this is the size of the impact crater that would form if an iron meteor with a 15km radius hit London head on at 60km/s. Even 500km away from the impact, clothing, paper, wood and even grass would ignite. Buildings and up to 90% of trees would be knocked down. Most of North West Europe would be a mess. Most of the UK would be completely destroyed. Fortunately, the probability of this happening is only once in nearly 4 billion years.

Good thing it’s all hypothetical! This calculator is pretty fun to play about with. You can set the size of the meteor (from 100m to 15km), the material it’s made from, the incident angle, the impact velocity… And then see how deep the hole is afterwards compared to certain famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower.

Try looking up some stats on Wikipedia. I managed to recreate Halley’s Comet. The dreaded near-Earth asteroid Apophis is mercifully small actually, at only around 270m in radius. Enough to do some damage. Probably not large enough to destroy any entire countries (except possibly Liechtenstein), but still enough to shatter windows from 300km away. Makes you think…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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