Way the Earth Ends #8: Asteroid Impact
In my novel, a comet strikes earth preceded by a cloud of smaller asteroids and debris that rain down and wreck havoc on most of the planet. The comet slams into the Pacific Ocean and creates a cloud of particles that amplify the greenhouse effect and cause the earth to become a few degrees hotter than normal…added on to the inevitable effects of global warming. The comet is not big enough to cause worldwide devastation, but the debris it throws into the atmosphere has a lasting effect on the lives of the heroes.
I remember several years ago when everyone was talking about 99942 Apophis, a possible planet killer asteroid that, if it passed through a “gravitational keyhole” would pummel earth enough to cause significant damage and possibly change the rate at which the earth rotates. It was the first asteroid to be rated a “4″ on the Torino Scale, which measures the danger of an asteroid impact. It has since been downgraded to a “1″ on the scale, but we are not out of the woods yet.
Scientists actually estimate that there could be nearly 4,700 planet killer asteroids floating around in our solar system alone, and that there are billions of rogue ones flying around the universe at any given moment. If you would like to see what could happen to your neighborhood if a big asteroid or comet hit your area, check Down 2 Earth. With this simulator you can get a pretty accurate idea of what would happen if one of these giant rocks were to smack down near you. The simulator doesn’t take into account the shockwave or debris or earthquake that would happen after a collision, but if you want to see what that would be like, I used Purdue University’s website to get an accurate seismic read for what would happen.