I’m a big believer in, what I have come to call: the Pacific Meteor Theory. The oceans on planet Earth account for 70% of the surface area of this spherical home of ours. It’s all connected, but in the northern hemisphere, the Pacific Ocean is the largest contiguous body of water there is. Interrupted my tiny islands, and bordered by HUGE dense population centers, the Pacific is a giant, horrible, sleeping predator waiting to strike. It’s a great sum of combustible fuel in the cosmic firestorm of our time. Granted, the probability of the Earth being slammed by a meteor of substantive size IN THAT AREA is really low. Really really low. But of all the other meteor impact scenarios, I see it as the most likely, and the most deadly.
It’s not hard to imagine something like this happening, having clearly dodged a bullet 9 miles above remotest Russia in 2013. We got lucky at Tunguska in 1908, which is still pretty recent history… in cosmic terms. Both times, they were over continental land… but still in the northern hemisphere… where the Pacific is. If we DON’T think about this, how are we going to be prepared? I’ve done some math, and here’s what the experts are telling me:
An asteroid of 500 meters in diameter would generate a tsunami which would devastate 180,000 square kilometers of coastal area and kill 30 million people. All of the pacific islands would be battered under a deep-water tsunami of over 66 feet high. And that’s 100 kilometers away from the impact. Spreading outward. Depending on WHICH area of the pacific, effects of large asteroids transcend mere oceanic woes and become global catastrophes. The probability of these things happening is basically unknown, because we have no idea how to quantify the density of objects idly floating about in the inner solar system. There may be oodles of things, and there may be very few. They’re REALLY small and hard to find with a conventional telescope, because they hardly reflect any light and generally look like a hole in space.
I see that earlier in the development there were all sorts of big impacts… but the time for that solar system development has long since gone by, and everything is pretty neatly organized in our solar family… but not totally. There are still little floating death blobs out there, and we should be ever aware how fragile a balance we have here on this fuzzy little Earth.