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Record Meteorite Hits Norway 281

Posted by Zonk
from the duck dept.
equex256 writes "Early Wednesday morning, a meteorite streaked across the sky in northern Norway, near Finland and Russia. A witness (Article in Norwegian) went up the mountain to where it hit and reported seeing large boulders that had fallen out of the mountainside, along with many broken trees. Norwegian astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard told Aftenposten, Norway's largest newspaper, that he would compare the explosive force of the impact with the Hiroshima bomb. This meteorite is suspected to be much larger than the 90-kilo (198-pound) meteorite which hit Alta in 1904, previously recognized as the largest to hit Norway. From the article: 'Røed Ødegaard said the meteorite was visible to an area of several hundred kilometers despite the brightness of the midnight sunlit summer sky. The meteorite hit a mountainside in Reisadalen in North Troms.'"
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Record Meteorite Hits Norway

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  • by EGSonikku (519478) <petersen.mobile@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @08:57PM (#15506944)
    Yup, fake, from a truck commercial (from Toyora I think?) meant to show how tough thier trucks are ;-)

    Whoever uploaded that video just cut out the last few seconds where it flashes the manufacturers name.
  • Re:Hiroshima? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Silverlancer (786390) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:05PM (#15506972)
    The curtains were something like 150km away from the meteor impact... I expect Hiroshima would have done similar at that range.
  • Re:Hiroshima? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nutria (679911) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:16PM (#15507011)
    I guess but if I recall correctly hiroshima did a little bit more then just "blow in some curtains".

    If Little Boy was detonated in the far northern mountains of Norway, it also would have had similar minimal effect.
  • Re:Hiroshima? (Score:4, Informative)

    by NewmanBlur (923584) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:20PM (#15507023) Homepage
    I've been to Hiroshima. The atomic bomb killed 140,000 people, if you include those who died of bomb-related injuries and illnesses, within (iirc) a year after the attack. If you increase that to five years, the number increases by many thousands, though I don't recall the exact number.

    The bomb levelled literally the entire city -- only one building remained, now referred to as the Genbaku Dome [worldheritagesite.org]. It's still standing, but it has been re-inforced with a steel structure to retain the shape it was in after the war.

    Anyway, the point is that even if this meteor was "substantially bigger" than the 200-pound record holder, I find it extremely hard to believe that it would do even a miniscule fraction of the what the A-bomb did.
  • Re:Is this real? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 49152 (690909) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:23PM (#15507032)
    Yes, it's real. The impact also showed up on seismic recorders http://www.astro.uio.no/ita/nyheter/ildkule06/ildk ule06.html [astro.uio.no] (You can study the images in this Norwegian article from the University of Oslo).
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:30PM (#15507056) Homepage
    There is a difference in how the energy was distributed. With the A-Bomb, it was an atmospheric blast. With the space rock, the energy was absorbed into the Earths crust.
  • by ACDChook (665413) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:39PM (#15507101)
    And for all you language nazis out there, meteorite is a silly word and should be abolished.

    I think you'll find that by definition, an object is a meteor while it falls through the atmosphere, and the rock that hits the ground is a meteorite. If it burns up in the atmosphere, then there is no meteorite, just a short-lived meteor.

  • by Deadstick (535032) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:10PM (#15507215)
    Should be modded up. An airburst sends down a mongo shock wave that flattens structures over a big area (not to mention the radiation that isn't a factor in the case of a meteor impact). A ground impact/explosion "over-destroys" a much smaller area, using its energy to excavate a crater instead of knocking buildings down.

    The Tunguska event of 1908 devastated a really big area because it was an airburst: apparently a comet whose ice content flashed into steam when it hit the atmosphere.

    rj
  • by morcego (260031) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:23PM (#15507262)
    Actually, you are right:

    Metoroid -> Atmosphere -> Meteor -> Ground -> Meteorite
  • by kernel panic attack (810175) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:28PM (#15507278)
    Followed through to the link mentioned earlier: http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article134 6820.ece [aftenposten.no]

    From that article, this one line jumped out at me: "Enorm fart."

    Now granted, I don't speak the native tongue up there in Norway, but I think we all can translate that.

    Also found this sesmic data on the web: http://www.norsar.no/NDC/bulletins/gbf/2006/GBF061 57.html [norsar.no]

      NORTH OF SVALBARD
                Origin time Lat Lon Azres Timres Wres Nphase Ntot Nsta Netmag
        2006-157:02.13.21.0 83.81 2.84 5.25 0.18 1.49 2 2 1 0.04

        Sta Dist Az Ph Time Tres Azim Ares Vel Snr Amp Freq Fkq Pol Arid Mag
        SPI 668.3 346.0 Pn 02.14.50.4 0.2 349.0 3.0 10.1 5.2 50.5 4.93 1 345124
        SPI 668.3 346.0 Sn 02.15.55.8 0.2 338.5 -7.5 5.8 4.1 34.0 8.43 3 2 345125 0.04

  • by Makoss (660100) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:35PM (#15507303) Homepage
    The problem is not the people doing the tracking, but the funding they don't get.

    There are some effots being made such as http://neat.jpl.nasa.gov/> but they get next to no funding.

    How many people are you going to be able to convince when all you can say is that "It's likely one will hit a populated area sometime in the future".The general reaction that I've witnessed is "If it was going to happen, why hasn't it yet?" and "That's just science fiction".

    It's far to abstract a threat for the vast majority of people to care about. . .
  • Re:Hiroshima? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gameforge (965493) on Friday June 09, 2006 @11:28PM (#15507457) Journal
    I've been to Hiroshima.
    Then you know how densely populated it is...

    ...even if this meteor was "substantially bigger" than the 200-pound record holder, I find it extremely hard to believe that it would do even a miniscule fraction of the what the A-bomb did.

    In 1980, Mt. St. Helens caused the largest landslide in history... then proceeded to level everything within many miles. Trees brushed over like toothpicks... valleys buried to hundreds of feet in ejecta and ash... it blew the entire north slope of the mountain away.

    It had the force of 27,000 atomic bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima (source [wikipedia.org]). It managed to kill all of 57 people.

    Please note that energy != destruction. If this meteorite crashed into Hiroshima, depending on the circumstances, the energy released on impact could have the potential to level the entire city and kill over 100,000 people.

    And if Mt. St. helens was located in the right spot in Japan, it could have taken out FAR more than this (think millions).
  • by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:27AM (#15507588) Homepage Journal
    I reversed the calculation to guess at how big the rock was that created the crater in Antarctica that was recently discovered, which is 300 miles across. I assumed that the asteroid had a fairly low density (porus rock). Assuming the object is travelling "slowly" (11 km/s), it would need to be 60 miles across to create a final crater of the necessary size. Even at 300 miles away (the edge of the crater), wind speeds would hit 8200 mph and the earth tremors would still be 11.3 on the Richter scale. A "typical" asteroid strike would be 17 km/s. To create the necessary crater, you'd be looking at a lump of rock 45 miles across. Most of the effects would be the same, except there would be a gigantic fireball. Again, at the crater's rim, you'd be looking at 8.53 x 10^10 joules/m^2 of energy for about 9110 seconds - enough to vaporize anything remotely close to the impact.


    Assuming typical velocity, an iron asteroid would be a mere 22 miles across. The radiation would only be two-thirds that of the porus asteroid at the same speed.


    If this was indeed the impact crater that triggered the initial phase of the Great Extinction, then the low density/high energy strike would produce vastly more heat and therefore affect the climate that much more.

  • by KFury (19522) * on Saturday June 10, 2006 @02:55AM (#15507949) Homepage
    Technically a meteorite didn't streak across the sky; a meteor streaked across the sky. Once it hits Earth the pieces are meteorites, and before it entered the atmosphere it was an asteroid.

    Saying a meteorite streaked across the sky is like saying ham likes to wallow in the mud.
  • Re:Hiroshima? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Moghedien (237619) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @04:31AM (#15508124) Journal
    According to this [aftenposten.no] article, an astronomer at the nearest observation station thinks it was a 10-12 kg meteorite, and he thinks the comparison to the Hiroshima bomb is "a vast exaggeration".
  • Re:Giant Røck (Score:5, Informative)

    by Man Eating Duck (534479) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @05:56AM (#15508254)
    I'm Norwegian.

    The vowel ø in Norwegian is pronounced like the vowel sound in "sun".

    Have føn :)

    BTW, the astronomer mentioned (Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, try it :) is something of an astronomer celebrity here. The press will always go to him when there are spectacular events, like this, or eclipses. He's done a great job to make astronomy accessible and fun to less technically inclined people, both by giving public lectures on fascinating subjects, and by writing a couple of books on "popularized astronomy".

    Cheers
  • by vertinox (846076) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @08:34AM (#15508591)
    Actually, airbursts are apparently quite common with even Iron metorites...

    Take the Meteor Crater [wikipedia.org] in Arizona for example. Throughout its history (after being discovered and acknowledged to be a impact from a space object) people thought they could find a rather large iron core. There were many owners of the site who set up drilling/mining projects so they could find the "grand prize" of this object.

    However, all this time they could never find this no matter how deep they went, but all over the site was plenty of iron and other minerals like coesite and stishovite (and the special quartz you can only make when you have high energy impacts like an abomb).

    So it is pretty much speculated that the object had an airburst right before it impacted turning into plasma. The crater was created through raw energy of this explosion rather than the object burrying itself into the earth.

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