Newfound crater in Egypt could change estimates of impact risk to Earth

July 23rd, 2010 - 5:06 pm ICT by ANI  

National Geographic Washington, July 23 (ANI): A small impact crater discovered in the Egyptian desert could change estimates for impact hazards to our planet, according to a new study.

The 147-foot-wide (45-meter-wide), 52-foot-deep (16-meter-deep) hole is believed to have smashed into the desert-nearly intact-at speeds exceeding 2.1 miles (3.5 kilometers) a second.

Current impact models state that iron meteors around this size and mass should break into smaller chunks before impact.

However, the new crater implies that up to 35 percent of these iron giants may actually survive whole-and thus have greater destructive power.

“We know from literature that the human occupation of this region ended about 5,000 years ago, with the onset of hyperarid conditions. Therefore we think that the impact occurred afterwards,” National Geographic News quoted study co-author Luigi Folco, a scientist with the University of Siena in Italy.

“Overall, the threat from impacts is probably greater than people realize, but historically there is very little information on this, and we just have not been collecting data for all that long,” said John Spray, a crater expert with the University of New Brunswick. (ANI)

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