Armageddon Will Occur

Could a meteor collision plunge us into global cooling?

meteorites
A meteorite sits on the surface of ice in a meteorite stranding zone in the Transantarctic mountains.
(Antarctic Search for Meteorites) (Program/Katherine Joy)
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By Kevin Roeten:

Kevin Roeten
Science Editor

We’re finding a meteor’s impact in Canada took climate change in a new direction…

Examining the multitude of meteorites falling to earth, it seems Antarctica is a favorite for these extraterrestrials. Scientists continually travel to Antarctica for meteorites. Scientists believe the iron-rich rocks are sinking below the surface.  Fortunately, Antarctic’s super-white conditions make it easy to spot these dark small-sized asteroids, with more than 34,927 collected so far. How many more lie out of the range of eyesight? The meteorites originate from the Moon, and Mars.

Once they hit Antarctica, meteorites typically get trapped in ice. Eventually they force themselves to the surface, especially in hot spots referred to as “stranding zones.” The ice gets deflected virtually upwards, which brings trapped meteorites to the surface.

“But iron meteorites pick up energy from the sun, and quickly transmit the energy to the bottom of it,” he explains. Researchers have made a road map for locating these meteorites—which probably number about 1 per every square kilometer, and are as close as 4-16 inches down.

James Karner, investigator for Antarctic Search for Meteorites, says the theory is: “We’ve always been a little worried that we are not getting a sampling of what is out there. This study is a great proof of principle that iron meteorites can sink in the ice and this could happen in Antarctica,” he says. Karner has spent the past eight years collecting meteorites. His team finds 300-1,000 meteorites each season.

These iron meteorites give scientists a better idea of how early protoplanets formed, and are the cores of small planetsThe early solar system contained more planets than the nine we have now. The prospect of these meteors being so accessible has sparked researchers to find them. “It’s not a case where [the meteorites] sunk to the bottom of the Antarctic ice sheet,” Evatt said. “They are there and it is feasible to go and find them. It will take quite a bit of effort but it is possible.”

The following table shows Earth close approaches by comets prior to 1900 within approximately 40 lunar distances (LD), sorted by close approach distance.

Comet Name

Designation

Date

Miss Dist. (au)

Miss Dist. (LD)

Note

Lexell

D/1770 L1

1770-Jul-01.7

0.0151

5.9

 

Tempel-Tuttle

55P/1366 U1

1366-Oct-26.4

0.0229

8.9

 

Halley

1P/ 837 F1

837-Apr-10.5

0.0334

13.0

 

Biela

3D/1805 V1

1805-Dec-09.9

0.0366

14.2

 

Comet of 1743

C/1743 C1

1743-Feb-08.9

0.0390

15.2

 

Comet of 1014

C/1014 C1

1014-Feb-24.9

0.0407

15.8

*

Comet of 1702

C/1702 H1

1702-Apr-20.2

0.0437

17.0

 

Comet of 1132

C/1132 T1

1132-Oct-07.2

0.0447

17.4

*

Comet of 1351

C/1351 W1

1351-Nov-29.4

0.0479

18.6

*

Comet of 1345

C/1345 O1

1345-Jul-31.9

0.0485

18.9

*

omet of 1499

C/1499 Q1

1499-Aug-17.1

0.0588

22.9

*

Comet of 1080

C/1080 P1

1080-Aug-05.7

0.0641

24.9

*

Great comet

C/1760 A1

1760-Jan-08.2

0.0681

26.5

 

Comet of 1472

C/1471 Y1

1472-Jan-22.9

0.0690

26.9

*

Comet of 400

C/ 400 F1

400-Mar-31.1

0.0767

29.8

*

Comet of 1556

C/1556 D1

1556-Mar-13.0

0.0835

32.5

*

Schweizer

C/1853 G1

1853-Apr-29.1

0.0839

32.7

 

Bouvard-Herschel

C/1797 P1

1797-Aug-16.5

0.0879

34.2

 

Halley

1P/ 374 E1

374-Apr-01.9

0.0884

34.4

 

Halley

1P/ 607 H1

607-Apr-19.2

0.0898

34.9

 

Comet of 568

C/ 568 O1

568-Sep-25.7

0.0918

35.7

*

Messier

C/1763 S1

1763-Sep-23.7

0.0934

36.3

 

Tempel

C/1864 N1

1864-Aug-08.4

0.0964

37.5

 

Schmidt

C/1862 N1

1862-Jul-04.6

0.0982

38.2

 

Comet of 390

C/ 390 Q1

390-Aug-18.9

0.1002

39.0

*

* The miss distance is uncertain because this comet’s orbit is relatively poorly determined.

AU (astronomical unit) ~150 million kilometers

LD (lunar distance) ~384,000 kilometers

Now, more than 80 meteorites fill the incoming list of close earth approaches. The real question relies on the gravitational pull of the earth.

Climate Change

But now we’re finding a meteor’s impact in Canada took climate change in a new direction. A cooling period, called the Younger Dryas, was originally attributed to a sudden shutdown in Northern Atlantic Ocean currents. A meteor has directly affected climate. Earth abruptly swung into a glacial period 12,900 years ago.

Image Credit: Esteban De Armas

A meteor or comet impact near Quebec heaved a rain of hot melted rock along North America’s Atlantic Coast about 12,900 years ago, accordi9ng to new study. The source—a 1.5-billion-year-old Quebecia terrane in northeastern Canada. During impact, the region was covered by a continental ice sheet, like Antarctica and Greenland. The cooling was due to a sudden shutdown in Northern Atlantic Ocean currents, caused by a big glacial lake flood . But in 2007, scientists suggested meteor impacts or atmospheric fireballs triggered the Younger Dryas.

On January 9th a gigantic space rock passed between our planet and the moon, but astronomers didn’t know it happened. Now designated 2017 AG13, the 10-story tall space rock was first spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey, and was travelling at 16 kilometers/second.

If the asteroid had hit our planet, it would have exploded with a force equivalent to 35 nukes, Eric Feldman said during a live broadcast of the fly-by. He said the asteroid was roughly the same size as a meteor which exploded in the sky above Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.

 

NASA also admitted the asteroid 2013 TX68, a 100ft-wide rock, could impact earth. It passed earth on March 5 within 11,000 miles. However, NASA says there’s “a possibility” of hitting the planet on September 28, 2017.

The same asteroid missed Earth two years ago at 1.3 million miles, but will probably pass much closer on its next visit. NASA has given estimates between 9 million and 11,000 miles. This huge range is due to many possible trajectories since it was tracked for only a short time after discovery.

However, further observations have enabled NASA to refine earlier flyby and distance predictions.  “This asteroid’s orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict where to look for it,” said Paul Chodas. There’s a chance it will be found by our search telescopes when it flies towards us next month—maybe.

Now we hear a massive 1.4-kilometer-wide asteroid came really close to earth on April 19th. The object named 2014 JO25, is estimated be between 640 and 1400 kilometers wide. It passed by earth within just 4.6 lunar distances on April 19. NASA says It’s the closest shave we’ve had with an asteroid this big in the last decade.

According to NASA, it’s the closest shave we’ve had with an asteroid this large in the last decade, and won’t make its return this close for at least 400 years. The object was first spotted May 2014.

The problem is earth’s gravitational forces tend to pull in close objects. As of April 2015, there are 1572 potentially hazardous asteroids [PHAs] detected. It’s not known if any of the known PHAs are on a collision course. Ironically, astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

How we forget the Comet Freight Train to Collide with Jupiter

The impact of Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter represents the first time in human history people have been able to predict the comet’s impact on a planet. This collision will deliver more energy to Jupiter than the largest nuclear warheads ever built,. Scientists saw a spectacular 5-1/2 day event on July 16-22. Astronomers predicted the comet’s 20+ segments would hit Jupiter’s night side.

The fragmented comet was discovered by Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy in March of 1993. Shoemaker-Levy 9 probably split apart during July 1992, after travelling within 113,000 kilometers of Jupiter’s center. During this pass around Jupiter, it’ forces tore it apart. Fragments vary with six large pieces, a dozen medium-sized ones, and assorted smaller debris. The average chunk is estimated to be two kilometers in diameter.

Predicted Effects on Jupiter

Because they are fragile, they broke up after penetrating about 300-400 kilometers into the atmosphere. The largest fragments descended another 50-200 kilometers. At this point, the fragments released their kinetic energy in a spectacular explosion in a second.

The Planetary Society believes 60% near-Earth objects [NEOs] bigger than 1.5km have so far been spotted. Roughly five new asteroids are being discovered every day.

Bottom line, almost 45,000 meteorite have been found on earth already. This column simply documents some of the largest rocks that will flyby earth very closely, or make some kind of impact. A documented impact is inevitable, whether next week, or in 100 years. The fact over 45,000 meteorites have been found already on earth, indicate we’re constantly bombarded. Meteorites not found are those thousands that burned up during atmospheric incursion, or those remaining hidden under the surface.

Considering 60% of large PHAs have been spotted, 40% haven’t been seen yet. It’s only a matter of time. I predict a major collision has about a 1/100th chance.

******

Kevin Roeten can be reached at roetenks@CHARTER.NET.

© Copyright by Kevin Roeten, 2017. All rights reserved.

Kevin Roeten
About Kevin Roeten 168 Articles
CHO's science editor Kevin Roeten is a former Chemical Engineer. He enjoys riding the third rail of journalism: politics and religion. As an orthodox Catholic, Roeten appreciates the juxtaposition of the two supposedly incompatible subjects.   Kevin is a Guest Columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, and the Independent (Ohio), and writes for numerous blogs (Nolan Chart, Allvoices) and newspapers, including USA Today.   A collaborator in the book Americans on Politics, Policy, and Pop Culture (Jason Wright and Aaron Lee), he is also an amateur astronomer, and delves into scientific topics.   Kevin Roeten can be reached at roetenks@charter.net.