TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- A meteorite slammed into a sparsely populated area of Honduras last month, terrifying residents and leaving a 165-foot-wide crater, scientists confirmed Sunday.This quote tells of a meteorite that hit Honduras only last November. We are very fortunate that this small impact occurred in a relatively remote area. Even a hit this size, if in a populated area would have surely taken many lives.
Villagers reported seeing a fireball crash and break into small red and yellow pieces on November 22 near San Luis, in the western province of Santa Barbara. But Sunday's statement was the first official word that the object was a meteorite. Residents of San Luis, 125 miles west of the capital, were terrified by the meteorite's crash, which sparked a fire that destroyed several acres of coffee plants and damaged a main highway. "I arrived almost immediately to the site of the explosion," said peasant Francisco Aguilar Sabillon. "There were enormous flames, and everything was destroyed. Because of that I fled from the place, frightened."
Authorities have asked those living nearby to stay away from the crash site. The meteorite did not appear to have any properties that would pose a threat to humans, they said.
The Earth is two thirds ocean and much of the land area is sparsely populated, making a disaster less likely. An impact the size of the one above (and indeed much larger) would go totally undetected if at sea. But impacts are not unknown to the Earth. More and more craters are being discovered every day, due to technological advances in our ability to survey the Earth. Many meteorites do not make it to the surface due to our protective atmosphere. These objects are composed of many different types of materials, depending upon their origin and there are literally billions of these objects in our local orbit. Most are too small to create much concern, but there are many many more with enough mass to cause very very serious problems.
I begin with this example, NOT to suggest at all that Hale Bopp will
hit the Earth. Although this may just be within the realm of possibilities.
Rather this example is utilized to warn people that the threat from Hale
Bopp IS REAL, and that other forms of disaster could well be caused by
its passing. It is truly my deepest desire that this comet will pass without
serious incident, just a beautiful sight in the morning sky. But unfortunately,
Hale Bopp has already caused some serious problems, as have been presented
in other pages.
The following theories are presented merely as possibilities. Let
me emphasize that these possibilities are based upon information that I
have to date, and this, as I have said, is very limited due to the information
and data releases by NASA/JPL. Therefore the constructing of these theories,
concerning possibilities, pose a complicated and difficult task at best.
As always your input is welcome and requested. I have modified the Mercali
Scale to apply to a variety of destructive forces rather than just earthquake
strength. This will give you an idea of the degree of threat that I am
considering. This of course is only an estimate and is most definitely
open to change and variance from the value. Electromagnetic effects are
more likely to occur as hits on the Earth are less likely to occur. Although
hits may indeed have a more destructive effect upon the Earth.
The likelihood of an increase in seismic activity will be greatly enhanced due to an increased EMF. Great faults like the San Andreas and the New Madrid could open up causing quakes on the magnitude of 9 or 10 on the Modified Mercali Scale below. Even a polar shift has been suggested by some. I would not rule this possibility out. The mechanics of such an event are not yet known, although in our history it has clearly been proven to have happened. The collapse of the Earth's magnetic field may be imminent, forced by the possibly much more powerful EMF of Hale Bopp. This could cause a pole shift or reversal, and thus, as stated above, a complete annihilation of any form of electrical power. The implications of this to our everyday life would be devastating. Think of the many things that we use electricity for; Medical purposes, the internet, refridgeration and heating, communication, etc..
Weather Increases could include deluges with electrical storms as
never seen by contemporary society. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons
would know no season and would be constantly present in every corner of
the world. Electrical storms could exist without clouds in the sky. And
although weather has increased severely this past year, it has less of
a psychological effect on those that are fortunate enough to escape them.
Therefore it may seem to those that are fortunate enough to miss them that
these increases are not real at first glance. But to those in the middle
of one of these great and fearsome storms as of recent, there can be no
doubt as to their suffering.
Every volcano and some yet to come forth could be activated. A review of Mt. Saint Helen's shows the destructive force of only one of these titans. If there were 8-10 of these monsters spewing out ash and gases at once, all life on the Earth would be in danger of failing. Protecting one's self would be a matter of location and preparation. With seismic events comes the threat of tsunami and deluge. In such a scenario all continents could be in danger below approximately 2000 feet. An inland safeplace may exist, but with that comes other dangers.
A shift in global orientation does not necessarily mean total deluge
or even total planet shift. It is possible for spin and orientation to
be adjusted slightly, or to any degree. There are recorded events where
a momentary burst in the Sun's corona has caused the Earth's spin to slow
down, however slight. Things we must watch for are changes in the celestial
mapping and the length of the day. It may be very likely that we may never
know that these events occur without concentrated amateur observations.
The message here is that again we are dealing with a very wide degree of
The worst effect as seen on Earth to date, in Japan, was exploded far above the surface to increase destructive capacity. In 1908 a comet exploded over the Tunguska region of the Soviet Union, flattening trees and destroying landscape for miles around and below the blast. In some ways we are protected from many threats that the other planets in our system face. Our atmosphere affords some limited protection, but there is a trade off. The trade off is that many smaller intruders do not make it to the surface, and we are fortunate to have a planet where two thirds of the surface is covered by water. The down side is that we have been fooled into believing that the Earth has not suffered as much damage as the other bodies have. As you were taught in elementary school, erosion of rain, wind and time is extremely powerful. Aerial bursts of larger impactors, can result in greater seismic disturbances, debris projectiles, shock wave blasts, instantaneous fireballs, and momentary xray irradiation. I quote from Mr. Lewis' book:
"...The fireball drives a powerful shock wave outward in all directions.The fireball continues to expand until it reaches pressure balance with the surrounding atmosphere. By then the surface of the fireball has cooled to a few thousand degrees, but the fireball is so much hotter than the surrounding atmosphere that it is very buoyant. All the surrounding countryside, scorched by the intense heat, is now in flames. Cooler air from the surrounding countryside flows rapidly inward toward ground zero to replace the rising column of hot gases, blowing at hurricane speeds and whipping the flames into a firestorm. Temperatures high enough to melt silicates and make droplets of glass are commonly found near surface bursts."On the other hand a typical impact on the Earth will excavate a mass of material about one hundred times the mass of the impactor. The meteorite that was mentioned in the beginning of this page in Honduras, was no doubt quite small. Of course if you are at ground zero it doesn't really matter! An impactor of 100 meters can produce an explosive equivalent of more than 100 megatons. That's five thousand times the power of the explosion that occurred over Hiroshima! Another quote from "Rain Of Iron And Ice":
"Spacewatch (part of NASA's NEAT project) has found, and will continue to find large numbers of bodies smaller than 10 meters in diameter, too small and faint for spectral studies. The number of such bodies in near by space is so large that developing a complete catalog of their orbits is a gigantic, almost impossible, task. We presently track and maintain accurate orbital data for over two hundred NEA's and several hundred cometary nuclei larger than one kilometer in diameter... It [will] take us another seventy years to develop a reasonably complete catalog."This as you can see is not an easy task. There are other variables that must be mentioned, primarily the fact that all possible impactors are not composed of the same density or mass. This bears weight as to the effect of each impactor. In the case of Hale Bopp we can only surmise that its makeup is more planetoid than ice. This could be a density difference of less than .9 to a density well over that of the Earth. The other factor would be the angle of attack. Again at this early date and with the lack of feasible data, an appropriate model is impossible. The other factor is the site of impact. If the site is in the ocean, there will not be a problem with a dust cloud that could cover the face of the Earth for months. On the other hand the threat of tsunami would be great. The successive waves are like a rock in a pond, but the force is linear as the blast is two dimensional instead of three dimensional as in the air. Therefore the energy falls off at a slower rate than an air blast. "As the wave approaches landfall, it will sharpen its profile due to the friction from the ocean floor. The height of the wave will grow by a factor of thirty, so a wave thirty kilometers long by thirty meters tall will crest at a height of about one thousand meters as it runs up the shoreline."
Therefore, there are several concerns considering a hit that is
possible. First is Hale Bopp one piece or several, as I have proposed.
Will it be perturbed to come close enough to actually cause an impact.
Or will one of its many traveling companions come for a visit? But perhaps
a more likely question, will it perturb one of the thousands of objects
already here into an inbound trajectory? The fact of the matter is, that
we may not know for a few years. Hale Bopp, if perturbed with its interaction
with the Sun, could slingshot out and return at anytime in the future.
Not necessarily 2000 or so years, as its current ephemeris suggests.
ROGUE ASTEROIDS ROAM SOLAR SYSTEMNote that the swarm is located in Jupiter's orbit, another suggestion that it may be related to Hale Bopp, as this was the area where the violence took place. Or perhaps the other possibility is likely, that these were asteroids and were perturbed by the comet. Either way the outcome is dangerous.
By Tim Friend
GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
"More than 200 asteroids half a mile in diameter have broken free of their orbits around the sun and are roaming the solar system like loose cannons, new research shows.
The findings in Thursday's "Nature" are the first to examine the orbits of a cluster of asteroids around the sun called the Trojan Swarm. The asteroids are in the same orbit as Jupiter and probably number as many as in the better-known main asteroid belt.
Scientists had assumed their orbits were stable, but they were "surprised to learn the asteroids are leaking out of their orbits at the outer edge and then go rattling around the solar system," Levison says.
The study was conducted with Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker of the Lowell Observatory and Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. The Shoemakers co-discovered the comet that slammed into Jupiter in 1995.
The scientists say the Trojan Swarm findings add to the notion that objects in the solar system are much less stable than previously believed.
"This whole field has undergone a revolution in last five to 10 years," Levison says. "The old picture of the solar system is that everything moves like clockwork. But the entire system is chaotic, and it is impossible to predict where things are going to be.""
|MODIFIED MERCALI DISASTER SCALE RATINGS|
|I||Most people do not notice, animals may be uneasy, can be detected by sensitive electronic equipment, doesn't make the 5 o'clock news.|
|II||Hanging objects sway back and forth, wind speeds of 50-60 miles per hour at ground level. Communications noisy, but not down, momentary power outage, infrequent.|
|III||Many people feel seismic movement, above normal weather expectations, minor psychological effects.|
|IV||Doors, windows, and shelves may rattle, people indoors can feel movement, modest increase in volcanic activity.|
|V||Light furniture moves, objects fall from shelves, power outages for hours, fly-by-wire made unsafe, hysteria common.|
|VI||Nearly everyone feels movement, light furniture falls over, windows may crack.|
|VII||Some people fall over, walls may crack, tornadoes and extreme electrical storms on a weekly basis, flooding in all lowlying areas, or areas of severe drought, substantial increases in volcanic activity.|
|VIII||Heavy furniture falls over, some walls crumble, power and communication out for days.|
|IX||Many people panic, some buildings collapse, dams crack, unable to venture out of doors without protective clothing, unable to see sun due to atmospheric dust, very dangerous to breath without appliance.|
|X||Railroad lines are bent, most buildings are damaged, roads crack, communications and power down for weeks, flooding at 2000 feet elevation possible, enormous increase in volcanic activity.|
|XI||Bridges collapse, buried pipes break, most buildings collapse, continents deluged.|
|XII||All manmade structures are destroyed.|
|Are we in danger? Is there something that we could be doing to prepare, if we were only told?|