Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards on a Populated Earth

Computer Modeling


  • John Lewis, University of Arizona, Tucson, U.S.A.

Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards explores the anticipated consequences of comet and asteroid impact. It presents the first computer simulations of the hazards of comet and asteroid bombardment of a populated Earth. Previous estimates of fatality and damage rates on the 100 to 10,000 year time scale are shown to be too low because they neglect rare, highly lethal outriders of the populations of bombarding objects, those with exceptional strength, unusually low entry velocity, and near-horizontal entry angles. This is the first realistic assessment of both the mean casualty rate and the expected statistical fluctuations in that rate. A breakdown of fatality and damage rates by impactor energy and compositional class suggests lessons for both asteroid search strategies and interdiction techniques.This book is written so that anyone with college level experience in the physical sciences can understand it. It includes a disk that allows the reader to simulate impact catastrophes. It serves as a useful resource in various physical sciences courses such as astronomy, planetary science, and environmental science.
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Undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and researchers, as well as the general public interested in astronomy and star-gazing.


Book information

  • Published: September 1999
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-446760-6


perhaps the most thorough study available on this subject...the writing is clear, engaging, and even humorous in places...recommended for upper-division undergraduates as well as public libraries."

Table of Contents

Preface.Introduction. The Impact Flux. The Impactor. The Impact Process. The Target. Method of Calculation. Results. Implications for Hazard Assessment and Abatement. Areas Requiring Further Study. Conclusions. References. Appendix A: Program HAZARDS Version 5.5 Owner's Manual. Appendix B: Program HAZARDS Version 5.5 Program Listing. Appendix C: Program HAZARDS Version 5.5 Sample Output. References. Index.