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Re: impacts are cool!



Michael wrote:

<snip>

> The size of the crater suggests at the very least 180km and more likely
> 230-300km in diameter.  

The crater is this big?  Or the object was this big?  Don't forget that
the crater is always several orders of magnitude larger than the object
that creates it.  Barringer Crater in Arizona is thought to have been
created by an object only a hundred meters across or so.

> Energies involved would be on the order of
> 3x10-8th to 3x10-9th megatonnes (10-8th megatonnes=about 5x10^23j), just
> as Mr. White pointed out. The strike was on limestone and would have
> likely created large plumes of chlorites and sulfites which would have
> caused widespread plankton and coral kills due to acidity.  The
> earthquake associated with the strike would have been somewhere between
> 10 and 12.8 on the Richter scale.  The Alaskan quake was 8.5 and San
> Francisco 8.3.  Each increase of one on the scale is an order of
> magnitude greater or ten times as powerful. Tsunumis would have been
> from 200 to 500 feet high (some people think perhaps even 1000). Nuclear
> winter would have been almost a certainty considering global effects of
> known volcanic eruptions.

Overkill.  Complete, total, absolute overkill.  An impact with
consequences like that would have killed every green thing on the planet
and left it completely sterile, except perhaps for hydrothermal vent
communities a kilometer below the ocean surface.  The Asteroid Doomsday
scenario is illogical, because it is completely contradicted by the
evidence.  Whatever happened at the K-T border caused widespread havoc
among both land and aquatic ecosystems, but _some_ life _did_ survive. 
Don't forget that.  Something Did Survive.  IMHO, that simple fact
conclusively disproves Asteroid Doomsday.

-- JSW