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Re: three impacts at the K-T boundary



Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. writes:

> An additional thought - consider the scale of some of the Jupiter strikes.
> Many of them were vastly more powerful than anything which struck during
> the Phanerozoic (540 Mya to the present).  If just one of the larger of
> them had struck the Earth, it would have produced a crater which extends
> from Washington, D.C. to New York City, and probably have boiled the oceans
> to a vapor in the process.  So much for multicellular life...

Not at all.  You're forgetting that Jupiter is a gas giant, not a small
heavy planet.  The different bodies' ability to absorb a bolide's
kinetic energy and the resulting measurable phemonena will doubtless
yield vastly different results.  Although there are mathematical
models, for example, not all that much is known in concrete terms about
what happens when a bolide strikes a methane atmosphere hundreds, if not
thousands, of miles deep.

Also, the Chicxulub crater is 180 km or so in diameter.  The bolide
that made it is estimated to have been as large as 10 km in diameter.
For reasons having to do with orbital mechanics, any intrasystem bolide
is going to be moving at about the same speed as the ones that struck
Jupiter.  It is likely that a 10-km bolide would release at least the
energy of the largest Jupiter strikes, if not possibly more.


-dick

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