13 March 2011

Cataclysmic Events ~ Beyond Magnitude 10.0

While the recent Sendai 2011 quake of magnitude 9.0 and tsunami aftermath loom large in recorded history, it's worth keeping in mind the truly cataclysmic probabilities which await us. (And that's not including man-made terrors including nuclear war, bioengineered plague, or grey goo.) There's a long list, which I won't belabor here. But I do want to spotlight terrestrial impact events, i.e. asteroid and comet hits... Recall that only a few years ago our solar systemic neighbor Jupiter got whacked by the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet... If that happened again on Earth, we'd have magnitude 10.0-plus shockwaves -- some estimate the Chicxulub asteroid strike in Yucatán being between magnitude 11 and 12.5 (!) -- and most likely megatsunami too, since odds are 7:3 it hits ocean. And if you're especially curious what the damage would be like, go visit the convenient DIY ImpactEarth! simulator...

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