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Re: Really Big Kaboom

The following was written by Jim Cunningham (make that "Oops" twice,
Jim; listproc doesn't like seeing error reports in "Subject:" lines...

-- MPR

P.S. While I'm here, I should probably suggest that people try to end
this thread; the details are drifting pretty far from dinosaurs.

---------------------- start of forwarded message
From: "James R. Cunningham" <jrccea@bellsouth.net>
Organization: Cunningham Engineering Assoc.
To: "Charles C. Fuller" <wuckus@ecol.net>, dinousaur@usc.edu

Charles C. Fuller wrote:

> There has been a thread for the last few days about the K/T
> bolide, and Jim Cunningham and others have offered estimates
> of the energetics involved. 30 million one megaton nuclear
> bombs is certainly enough to give one pause.

I think I was saying 15-20 million of them, though at 50 mi/sec, the
number would have been 40-55.  But please don't think I think the K-T
explosion was this powerful (even 15).  I still think the impactor had a
diameter less than 10 klicks, just because I can't qualitatively
reconcile the larger energies with the species survival indicated by the
fossil record.

> Most of what we will be seeing in the next 48 hours are the
> results of sand to pebble sized particles having their
> kinetic energy converted into other forms, some of which
> being photons, and only a tiny fraction of that energy being
> in the energy range that people can observe it. Yet, these
> events yield enough energy that the unaided eye can detect
> it at a range of a few hundred to a few thousand miles.

Most are smaller than sand, more like silt-sized.  If memory serves, a
pea-sized meteor will cast light enough to cause visible shadows.  These
things light up about 70 miles up, and most have burned out while still
above 35 miles.

> Kinda boggles the mind to consider what a rock "the size of
> Manhattan" could do.

Consider the movie 'Deep Impact' to be an understatement.

---------------------- end of forwarded message