Solid Earth Shock Wave and Earthquakes

When meteorites hit the surface of the Earth they generate seismic waves and cause earthquakes. The size of the earthquake is related to the energy released by the impactor, which is related to its mass and its velocity. The larger the energy released on the surface, the larger the earthquake. Meteors that explode in the atmosphere can also generate earthquakes, as the air blast transfers energy to the surface and also generates seismic waves.

Large impacts generate seismic waves that travel through the interior of the Earth and along the surface layers. For comparison, the Tunguska explosion and airburst generated a seismic event with a Richter magnitude that is estimated to be only about a magnitude 5 earthquake. In contrast, the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary generated a magnitude 11, 12, or 13 earthquake, shaking the entire planet, and resulting in seismic waves that uplifted and dropped the ground surface by hundreds to a thousand feet (up to 300 m) at a distance of 600 miles (965 km) from the crater.

If an impact of this size and energy hit the Earth today, shock waves would be felt globally as earthquakes of unimaginable size, destroying much of the surface of the planet, and killing billions of people.

Continue reading here: Tsunamis Generated by Meteorite Impacts in the Oceans

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