The terms “meteor”, “meteorite” and “meteoroid” are thrown around thoughtlessly without emphasizing their differences from each other. To set things clear, a meteoroid is a small body traveling in the solar system that would turn into a meteor, a falling or shooting star, when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteorites are fragments of a meteor that endure its way through the Earth’s atmosphere and reaches the ground.
These three figures are crumbles of larger bodies called parent bodies that come from the asteroid belt and comets. They are also linked to the samples taken from the moon and Mars, which is the result of the crash with other asteroids or from Mars by volcanic explosions.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a meteor blasted in the sky over Russia in 2013. It did not hit any individual or infrastructure, but it wounded more than a thousand people and damaged more than seven thousand buildings due to its shockwave. The burst released about 500 kilotons of TNT, which was compared to 20 to 30 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Now, if a meteor were to hit us tomorrow, will we be able to handle its shockwave, knowing that it is volatile and unpredictable? Here are fifteen things that would happen if a meteor were to hit tomorrow, also known as a meteorite, considering the different bearings.
15. Serious injuries
Many people will be wounded because of the strong impact of the meteor on Earth. Even if we try to be vigilant, there is no escape from a natural phenomenon like that. We might have sprains, fractures, swollen muscles, concussions, dislocations, etc. It might also be traced back to our medical history when we have a heart attack or asthma attack. Some might experience more severe illnesses due to anxiety, fright, and shock.
We can also get hurt from stampedes caused by other people trying to run to safety. Thus, we end up inflicting pain on one another because we are all freaking out. Yet, it might be due to debris, fallen infrastructures, or faulty electricity lines, too.
14. Emotional breakdown
Mental health is often neglected during such disasters. We tend to forget that it also plays an important role in the daily lives of people. We could not call ourselves healthy without considering our mental condition. For instance, according to the American Psychological Association, the trauma caused by the explosions and death of loved ones can last for a lifetime. That is no joke. During and after the tragedy, people will begin to reflect on their lives, leading to depression. They will think of what they could have done before a meteor took everything they had and what if they did so without fear. They will need time and support to move on from the catastrophe. Their worries and doubts might eat them alive, resulting in more undesirable losses.
13. Critical Damage to Infrastructures
If some mere shockwave already damaged buildings, houses, and other infrastructures, it is projected that we will experience a more intense impact if a meteor really hit us. Those damages will vary, depending on the location where the meteor landed. Though, there will be evident cracks inside and outside the structures.
The destruction of the structures might cause a fire within the vicinity when electric circuits are confirmed to be affected. It will take months or even years to put it all back together because there is a huge possibility that there will be a total wipeout of buildings if these get struck directly.
12. Adverse Effects on the Environment
Aside from the damages on the buildings, houses, schools, hospitals, parks, shopping malls, and other infrastructures, there will also be adverse effects on the environment in general. For example, the habitats of animals and plants will be destroyed once a meteor hits the planet. The existence of forests, fisheries, oceans, freshwater systems, etc. will be threatened. The dust coming from the meteor will also create more pollution in the environment. However, it is not like we are not destroying it bit by bit. In other words, the impact of the meteor will simply destroy the environment that we live in totally.
11. Shortage of Food and Water
Not only human beings will be found stone cold on the ground but animals and plants as well. Land, water, and air creatures cannot avoid death. Thus, they might die because of violence, anxiety, or suffocation since living things have different levels of sensitivity.
As for plants, because there is an inadequate supply of water, they will not be able to produce food for themselves. When they cease to exist, our sources of food and water will also disappear, considering that we are dependent on these living creatures. Hence, we might not survive or vanish sooner or later because they are one of the things that keep us alive.
10. Meditation on Life
“If the world ends today, what will you do?” or “If this is your last day on Earth, what will you risk doing?” The answers to these questions may be associated with your answer when you are asked about your reaction if a meteor were to hit tomorrow. Your whole life will flash before your eyes when that time comes. You will go on a trip down memory lane and reminisce the beautiful memories of yesterday. You will reflect on what you regret not doing and what you regret doing. You will have a deeper connection with the people around you. You will begin to appreciate nature more, especially when it will bid you goodbye soon.
9. Massive Craters
Craters are massive holes on the ground or on the surface of a planet. It can be caused by an explosion or the impact of a meteorite or celestial body. Though we can’t fully state whether extraterrestrial creatures have inhabited our planet or not, there are marks on Earth, which support the fact that it is possible. Some of these craters are found in Estonia, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Arizona, etc.
So, if a meteor were to hit tomorrow, the following generations will know of its existence since these craters will last longer than a lifetime. For instance, even if the meteor landed in Arizona more than 50,000 years ago, the Meteor Crater in the said region can still be seen.
8. Scattered Debris
The left-over debris is also known as meteor dust or meteoric dust. They measure from several micrometers to fractions of a millimeter. They can stay in the atmosphere for a long time and create unusual clouds in the night sky, but it also depends on its thickness. For instance, these noctilucent clouds (NLCs) were shaped through the meteoric smoke. It is from the remnants of meteors that burned up going inside the atmosphere. When the smoke particles clashed with water vapor, they condensed and formed crystals. Thus, it became clouds. Additionally, this debris can affect the climate because of scattering radiation and chemical reactions.
7. Worldwide Earthquakes
An intense impact on the Earth’s surface can cause a disturbance in the tectonic plates, making it tremble. To clarify, meteorites are not capable of producing earthquakes, but they can induce tremors that are like earthquakes. The intensity of the earthquake also varies on the location of the object or person. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports, the meteor explosion in Russia in 2013 triggered quakes that can be compared to earthquakes. It produced a magnitude of 2.7. However, they made it clear that it was not an actual earthquake. Yet, it’ a different story when a meteor is to be involved. Since meteorites are parts of a meteor, combining all these meteorites may cause an earthquake.
Since 70% of the Earth is composed of water bodies, it is very likely for a meteor to hit these areas. Though, what’s in it for us? There has been a lot of arguments regarding the impact of an asteroid on Earth, particularly if it hits the oceans. One theory is that it might stir a tsunami, but this is yet to be proven because only science fiction movies have displayed this phenomenon.
According to Galen Gisler, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the impact of the asteroid can be compared to throwing a rock in a pond. It will produce waves, but it will lose their energy quickly. However, no definite study has been done for a meteor, but it is safe to assume that it is possible for a larger impact for the latter.
5. Weather Disturbances
According to a research in 2005 published by National Geographic, a 10-meter meteor could disturb the typical weather condition. Its particles can even form raindrops and fall from the stratosphere. This can seed clouds.
Still, it depends on the location of the impact of the meteor. If it were to hit the equator, significant weather changes are to be expected. Knowing that most of the sun’s energy hit the equator, there will be violent reactions by the solar radiation to remove the meteor debris. In addition, researchers are still uncovering loopholes in the Antarctic meteor that may have damaged the ozone layer.
Is it unlikely for a meteor to stimulate another phase of evolution? Well, think again. Scientists believe that dinosaurs became extinct after a vast impact of a meteorite more than fifty million years ago. According to a study by researchers Philip A. Bland and Charles S. Cockell, the meteorites that landed on Earth before came with chemical compounds that are vital in living. If proven, the meteorites brought a great energy that sustained the needs of other life forms. If a meteor containing these chemical compounds were to hit us, it could possibly lead to another phase of evolution, producing a new batch of complex creatures.
3. Appearance of Uncommon Species
For example, the crash of the meteor in the ocean may result to the wide splash of water on land. There will be a great flood above the surface, covering the society, infrastructures, etc. Though, the creatures below the reach of a human being will emerge and be witnessed by the public. For instance, fictional stories about the hidden treasures will turn into facts. The existence of sea monsters, mermaids, etc. will be given justice.
We might be able to unlock the mysteries of the ocean by witnessing the presence of these deep-sea creatures. Yet, let’s not limit it to deep-sea creatures since other life forms on land might also come out of their shells due to fright and terror.
2. Adverse Change in the Atmosphere
Due to past occurrences, it has been concluded that a meteorite’s impact on Earth will add new substances to the atmosphere, joining smoke and ejected. There will be a chemical reaction between nitrogen and oxygen that will yield nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is also known as the “laughing gas”, which can cause hallucinations. There is a risk of death when using nitrous oxide since there is an absence of oxygen. Then, it will turn into nitric acid, which is irritating to the body. If inhaled, it will result in severe coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Thus, when these chemical compounds float in the air, there is a dangerous effect on living forms.
1. Death everywhere
The worst inevitable sight that may greet you after the tragedy is those people who tried to survive but couldn’t – a sea of dead people. It includes innocent young children, helpless teenagers, and vulnerable adults. The causes of their death would mainly be natural because it wasn’t like they wanted that phenomenon to occur. Or, perhaps, it might be because of their untreated wounds. They weren’t brought to the hospital since the hospital was also damaged. Thus, skilled doctors wouldn’t be able to cure the wound or stop the bleeding, if their injury was severe. Now, just imagine the effect of the wave of deaths on their families whom they left behind.
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