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Could a 3 to 10 mile Asteroid cause mass extinction on the Earth?

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However, it's unlikely that an asteroid will destroy all life on Earth because there are not asteroids that are big enough to wipe out a whole planet's population. The asteroids being recorded are large enough to leave craters in the earth, but they are not large enough to extinguish life on earth. According to a Killer Asteroid web article, in order for there to be a substantial impact to the earth and its atmosphere, the asteroid must be between 3 to 10 miles wide. The damage that the Earth would undergo from an event like this would be catastrophic. According to ScienceMag, the death that would follow an asteroid like this would be caused by the following: hurricanes, tsunamis, and dust blocking crops from receiving sunlight.

Origin and Prevalence

The claim "What is the chance of an asteroid killing most human life on Earth" has been a topic of discussion for years. Since we learned that an asteroid possibly killed the dinosaurs, many have wondered if this could happen again, and how soon. Every year, meteorites crash down on Earth, and some burn up in the atmosphere. According to a web article on HowStuffWorks, Marshall Brain wrote that an asteroid just a mile wide can cause damage up to 1,000 miles away from the epicenter. So then, what would the amount of damage be if an asteroid at least three times as wide collided with Earth?

Speculation has been brought up by scientists in 2013 stating that they discovered an asteroid and named it 2013 TV135. It is recorded that the asteroid measures 1345 feet (0.2547 miles). Which is considered a relatively big asteroid. The asteroid could either pass by Earth or hit it and would cause an explosion that is equivalent to 2,500 megatons of TNT. The claim has been confirmed by scientists in Italy, Spain, the UK and Russia but NASA has put a halt to the claim. NASA said, "the threat of the asteroid hitting earth is only one in 63,000 and the likelihood of it missing earth is 99.9984 per cent" ( Express). With more observation they will be able to rule out the accuracy and effects of this asteroid. In the article, they also elaborated on another suspected asteroid named 2007 VK184, which has a greater chance of colliding with Earth but the odds are still one to 2,700.

Issues and Analysis

The likelihood of an asteroid hitting the earth and destroying humanity is highly unlikely. An asteroid hitting the earth in general is unlikely but if it did, the impact would be catastrophic. According to an article on HowStuffWorks, if an asteroid the size of a 20 story building were to hit the earth, it would flatten buildings five miles below ground level. Millions of people would be killed. An article by MetroUK states scientists have researched that if the asteroid lands in the ocean, a large tsunami would take over a city and kill millions of people if it landed near a city located near water. The asteroid could also land in a dry, deserted place and hardly impact humanity. Another point from MetroUK states that if the asteroid hit earth, it might create an explosion fifteen times more powerful than the Hiroshima bombs. While this would create a 2.6 mile wide crater, devastating everyone near it, the impact would not be large enough to eliminate all of humanity. There are a lot of large areas of land that are vacant without any human life. If an asteroid were to hit this part of the earth, there would be minimal impact to the human population.

Links/Citations https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-minimum-size-of-an-asteroid-that-has-the-power-to-destroy-all-life-on-Earth






https://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/sl9/back2.html from 2001

Dassanayake, D. (2013, October 18). The end of the world IS nigh: Huge asteroid 'will hit earth

in 2032' claim astronomers. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from


Nerney, C. (2013). Double disappointment for doomsday dolts: Asteroid apophis will blow not one, but two chances to kill us all. Framingham: Computerworld, Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umw.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1269487888?accountid=12299

Hecht, J. (2002, Oct 26). It's only the really big asteroid impacts that are a threat to life on earth. New Scientist, 176, 24. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umw.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/200410264?accountid=12299

Sukumar, B. R. (2017, June 30). NASA has found 16,000 asteroids near Earth. Don't panic.

Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/a/asteroid-day

Brain, M. (2007, December 04). What if an asteroid hit the Earth? Retrieved February 21,

2018, from


Jonathan Roberts Professor in Robotics, Queensland University of Technology. (2018,

January 18). How to backup life on Earth ahead of any doomsday event. Retrieved

February 21, 2018, from



Giorgia GuglielmiJul. 14, 2017 , 5:00 AM, 20, 2. E., John Carroll, Endpoints NewsFeb.

16, 2018, 16, 2. J., 15, 2. R., 14, 2. M., . . . 1, 2. F. (2017, December 08). This is what it would take to kill all life on Earth. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/07/what-it-would-take-kill-all-life-earth

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