Asteroids and Meteorites: Catastrophic Collisions with Earth

Asteroids and Meteorites: Catastrophic Collisions with Earth

by Timothy Kusky


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816064694
Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/28/2009
Series: Hazardous Earth Series
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Table of Contents

Preface v

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

1 Origin of Planets, Asteroids, and Comets 1

Origin of the Universe 1

The Solar System 5

Is Pluto a Planet? 8

Origin of Earth by Asteroid Impacts 8

Conclusion 13

2 Orbits and Compositional Classification of Meteorites 14

Compositional Classification of Meteorites 14

Orbits and Location of Asteroids in the Solar System 21

Inner Solar System Asteroids 23

Main Asteroid Belt 24

Aten, Apollo, and Amor Class Asteroids 27

Outer Solar System Asteroids 28

Kuiper Belt 28

Oort Cloud 29

Short- and Long-Period Comets 29

Did Life Come to Earth on a Comet? 34

Origin of Asteroids, Meteorites, and Comets 35

Conclusion 36

3 Meteorite and Comet Impacts with Earth 39

Inventory of Impact Craters on Earth 42

Impact Cratering Mechanics and Consequences 42

Tunguska Siberia, June 30, 1908 47

Eyewitness Accounts of the Tunguska Explosion, June 30, 1908 48

Barringer Crater, Arizona 53

Chicxulub Impact and the Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction 55

Manicougan Crater, Ontario, Canada 63

Vredefort Impact Structure, South Africa 64

Lunar Impact Craters 67

Conclusion 68

4 Mass Extinctions and Catastrophies 70

The Role of Noncatastrophic Processes in Evolution and Extinction 72

The History of Life and Mass Extinctions 75

Examples of Mass Extinctions 77

Population Growth and the Future 83

Conclusion 86

5 Hazards of Impacts and Mitigating the Dangers of Future Impacts 87

Atmospheric Shock Waves 90

Collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter 91

Solid Earth Shock Wave and Earthquakes 93

Tsunamis 94

Global Firestorm and Global Winter 94

Mitigating the Dangers of Future Impacts 96

RecentNear Collisions 102

Conclusion 105

Summary 107

Appendix 112

Glossary 113

Further Reading 119

Index 125

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