Meteorites – World

Music
Ambience Underwater Quake

Picture every nightmare scenario from every disaster movie you’ve every seen, times ten.
Such an event took place about two billion years ago, when a meteorite hit Sudbury, Ontario in Canada. It was a crash felt round the world. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. James Mungall is a professor of Geology at the University of Toronto. From evidence left at the impact site, he’s been putting together an idea of what happened when the meteorite hit.

“Imagine a rock the size of Mt. Everest moving silently through outer space at a speed somewhere between 20,000 meters per second and 60,000 meters per second. This object would pass all the way from outer space through the atmosphere and touch the ground in about a second. If it fell at night, I supposed you’d see a very bright light approaching. It would look like a very bright star coming closer and closer. It would pass through the atmosphere and strike the ground in a matter of a second or two, and this object would be large enough so that its upper surface would still be at an altitude higher than Mr. Everest when it’s leading edge had actually hit the ground. The ground that it strikes will immediately be transformed into vapor or even plasma. Plasma is a gas which is so hot that the electrons have been stripped off of the atoms. The material in that impact sitein this core of the impact site would be hotter than the surface of the sun. Temperatures would reach or exceed 10,000 degrees. And following that initial process of forming this ball-shaped cavity filled with plasma, 10 to 20 kilometers in diameter, the next step would be the passage of a shockwave.”

Well, like any good disaster movie, we’ve already got a sequel planned. In our next program devastation of the scale of a nuclear explosion. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Meteorites - World

A sea of plasma and a blast hotter than the sun: sound like a nightmare? It happened here on earth, a billion years ago.
Air Date:11/04/2009
Scientist:
Transcript:

Music
Ambience Underwater Quake

Picture every nightmare scenario from every disaster movie you’ve every seen, times ten.
Such an event took place about two billion years ago, when a meteorite hit Sudbury, Ontario in Canada. It was a crash felt round the world. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. James Mungall is a professor of Geology at the University of Toronto. From evidence left at the impact site, he’s been putting together an idea of what happened when the meteorite hit.

“Imagine a rock the size of Mt. Everest moving silently through outer space at a speed somewhere between 20,000 meters per second and 60,000 meters per second. This object would pass all the way from outer space through the atmosphere and touch the ground in about a second. If it fell at night, I supposed you’d see a very bright light approaching. It would look like a very bright star coming closer and closer. It would pass through the atmosphere and strike the ground in a matter of a second or two, and this object would be large enough so that its upper surface would still be at an altitude higher than Mr. Everest when it’s leading edge had actually hit the ground. The ground that it strikes will immediately be transformed into vapor or even plasma. Plasma is a gas which is so hot that the electrons have been stripped off of the atoms. The material in that impact sitein this core of the impact site would be hotter than the surface of the sun. Temperatures would reach or exceed 10,000 degrees. And following that initial process of forming this ball-shaped cavity filled with plasma, 10 to 20 kilometers in diameter, the next step would be the passage of a shockwave.”

Well, like any good disaster movie, we’ve already got a sequel planned. In our next program devastation of the scale of a nuclear explosion. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.