Have you ever wondered what would happen if an asteroid plopped right into one of Earth’s oceans? Curious researchers wanted to know too, and so they created scientific models to find out.
Given that almost two-thirds of Earth’s surface is covered by liquid water, it’s more likely that an asteroid would fall into one of Earth’s oceans than on solid land. Although that’s good news for most of us, that doesn’t mean the entire world is safe from water-landing asteroids.
In asteroid landings, there are two potential outcomes: direct impacts and airbursts – when the asteroid breaks up in the air before impact. According to the computer models, an airburst would potentially cause more devastation than a direct impact in one of our oceans.
Their calculations showed that a direct impact would be more likely to create tsunamis and high-rising follow-up waves than an airburst would. Intriguingly, this contradicted previous beliefs.
Another captivating finding was that pressure waves in both the air and water would prevent these tsunamis from getting very far, so it’s challenging to discern whether these oceanic asteroid impacts would deal any harm to nearby landmasses.