Monday, April 20, 2009

Odds of asteroid tsunami 'just plummeted' with new study

A co-worker of Pound360's recently asked if asteroids striking an ocean would cause killer tsunamis. Pound360 thought so. But we seem to be mistaken.

A study by the University of Oslo suggests waves created by a 200-meter asteroid strike in the deep ocean "start breaking immediately." Initially, the waves would be "hundreds of meters high," but the sheer size of the waves would cause them to collapse quickly.

But not that quick. It would take 600 miles for the waves to shrink to less than 30 feet. So basically, "you don't want to be close to one of these things," said one expert. Another thing to consider is the splash. A 200-meter asteroid would toss billions of tons of water into the atmosphere, "which would descend at up to 300 meters per second within about 12 miles of the imact site."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.