|US and China biggest risk from asteroid impact|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Thursday, 29 March 2007 17:00|
|Using new computer software, scientists have been able to quantify the human casualty toll on a possible asteroid strike for the first time. Combing population data with statistical results from thousands of impact locations all over the world, the researchers have concluded that the US and China stand to lose the most, both economically and in the numbers of casualties. The research team, headed by Nick Bailey of the University of South Hampton, UK, used small asteroids in their analysis, which are more frequent and harder to spot. |
Quote: "The team focused on smaller asteroids because they hit the Earth more frequently. An asteroid a few hundred metres across hits the planet about once every 10,000 years, on average, while those larger than 1 kilometre hit only every 100,000 years or so. Small asteroids are also harder to spot. "We're more likely to be hit by one without much warning," Bailey told New Scientist. Using maps of population density, the researchers charted the places likely to suffer the most casualties. As might be expected, countries with large coastal populations turned out to be most vulnerable, with China, Indonesia, India, Japan and the US in the top five spots.
Ever since the Asian tsunami in December 2004, analysts have been particularly worried about the possible effects of an asteroid impact in the ocean. The Asian tsunami struck a dozen countries and resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 people. But even though Shoemaker Levy 9 struck Jupiter in July 1994 with the whole world watching, the world in general has not thought much about the possibility that such an object could strike the earth. The Bible states that during the tribulation, a large asteroid will indeed strike the ocean, causing much devastation.