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Could an asteroid hit the Earth...


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#21 Christopher

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 10:19 PM

Anakam, on Feb 28 2003, 02:07 PM, said:

Yeah, Yellowstone's a hot spot, so it's weird. ;)  In fact, if you follow the FAQ link Sisko gave, there should be something on that page that should lead you to a map that shows how its 'drift' has been tracked by the calderas it leaves.  The calderas look so small and cute on a map (at least to me :p ), but they're *so* huge that they weren't recognized for a while, IIRC.
Could you please provide a direct link to that map?  I couldn't find it through the FAQ page.  (Oh, and it was Kevin Street who posted the FAQ link, not Sisko.)
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#22 sierraleone

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 10:48 PM

^ was wondering why I couldn't find Sisko in this thread ;) :) I might have actually entered my post after Kevin Street, but I didn't see his because of poking around looking for the info. I'll read that now though, thanks :)

I found a map on that site but I'm not sure its the one he meant:  http://volcanoes.usg...yvo/LvlMap.html

Edited by sierraleone, 28 February 2003 - 10:57 PM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

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Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#23 Woodmansee

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 10:49 PM

Delvo, on Feb 28 2003, 04:11 AM, said:

The risk that this is going to happen is wildly exaggerated for dramatic effect. For example, the references to ending ALL life; that idea is purely made up, not indicated by any kind of evidence. The mass-extinction-causing comets have all hit within certain "windows" of time that open briefly (like for one or two million years) on a 26-million year cycle, the last episode being 13 million years ago.
First I never said all life, I just said most larger life forms would die, including humans. Second, I disagree that there is no evidence. There have been at least six known mass extinctions:  Late Cambrian, Late Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, Late Triassic, End Cretaceous.

It's been demonstrated by models that a large enough impact will release enough energy and debris to cause such a mass extinction.

Our ability to date these extinctions accurately is limited and could be off a few million years. Yes the events could be cyclic with windows of opportunity and a period of 26 to 30 million years. But no cyclic cause has ever been identified. It could just as easily be a random event that is so improbable that it only happens that infrequently. If it is cyclic then we have 10 million years or more to get ready. But if it is not cyclic then there is a very very low probability of it happening at any time.

The risk of Tungooska event is much higher. Sure it's nothing new, but with the greater worldwide propulsion density, the probability of thousands or even millions or people dying is much larger than it ever was historically. I don't want anyone to die needlessly if it can be avoided with some advanced planning and investment.

The possibility of a volcano erupting in Yellowstone is something I know nothing about, and it is irrelevant to the discussion of the asteroid risk. For that case a separate risk assessment has to be made and solutions evaluated. That's not what we're discussing here. I'm just making the point that asteroids are a definite risk with serious implications and the solution is not that difficult and arguing that we should spend some money to implement a solution.

Paul

#24 sierraleone

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:04 PM

^ I agree about looking at solutions. But it seems no government is ever willing to pay, they probably figure the chances of it happening at any one time is low, and are willing to let other people pay for it later (either through paying for the technology to divert it, or paying with their lives).
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#25 Kevin Street

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:46 PM

But if an asteroid impact does happen (and the damage is small enough to permit the continued existence of our civilization), you can bet your bottom dollar all the governments of the world will become obsessed with combatting the "asteroid threat." Suddenly, all the ideas and programs for mapping and reducing the risk from NEOs would be flooded with funding, and the general public would start talking about this in terms of the actual rather than the hypothetical, saying things like "How can we stop the next impact?" And so on.

When Mr. Woodmansee said:

Quote

So I believe we need to have a rapid response missile system that can reach escape velocity with a large hydrogen bomb payload that could nudge an asteroid if needed.

He's absolutely right. All the talk now is about building smaller "tactical" nuclear bombs, but if the US government is so keen on developing better defenses, why can't they spare some cash for a weapon system that cold actually save lives?

I hope we don't have to learn about this through bitter experience.
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#26 Anakam

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:46 PM

Christopher, on Feb 28 2003, 07:16 PM, said:

Anakam, on Feb 28 2003, 02:07 PM, said:

Yeah, Yellowstone's a hot spot, so it's weird. ;)  In fact, if you follow the FAQ link Sisko gave, there should be something on that page that should lead you to a map that shows how its 'drift' has been tracked by the calderas it leaves.  The calderas look so small and cute on a map (at least to me :p ), but they're *so* huge that they weren't recognized for a while, IIRC.
Could you please provide a direct link to that map?  I couldn't find it through the FAQ page.  (Oh, and it was Kevin Street who posted the FAQ link, not Sisko.)
Ack, sorry.... am not feeling well.  :blush:

sierra--nope, it's not.... though that does show the 'current' ones, which is also useful; the map I'm speaking of I'm not even sure I've found on that site--it shows the track of the Yellowstone hot spot calderas over the past 15 million years or so... I'll look it up soon, since I want to know if it's actually there. :) ;)

Ahh.... here it is, and it's actually much nicer than the one I first saw:
http://volcanoes.usg...gures/fig1.html
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#27 sierraleone

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:53 PM

^ thanks, I thought it was wrong because you mentioned several calderas. It does look cute ; )  : ) I assume its the continental movement that makes it look like the hotspot is moving, not the other way around. Boy is this thread getting derailed   :hehe:

Edited by sierraleone, 28 February 2003 - 11:55 PM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#28 ChanceVS

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 12:19 AM

sierraleone, on Feb 28 2003, 03:50 PM, said:

Boy is this thread getting derailed   :hehe:
Yeah, it is, but hey, I knew almost nothing about supervolcanoes until I started reading these posts and visiting the links, so it's not a bad thing...  :)

ChanceVS

#29 Delvo

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 12:31 AM

sierraleone, on Feb 28 2003, 02:50 PM, said:

I assume its the continental movement that makes it look like the hotspot is moving, not the other way around.
Welcome to the theory of geologic relativity. :) With all the plates moving relative to each other, various internal machinations happening under the crust (which are what drives these "hotspots"), magnetic poles wandering, the rotational axis precessing, and land formations building up and eroding down, if you want to make maps that show some element of time, you have to pick something and call it constant so that you can show how other things happen relative to that... but you could also have picked something else to treat as constant anyway, since none of it really is. The methods for making maps that show time are actually the subject of a "final" project for a cartography class I took once. And in fact I even used a similar map to that linked one (which shows that same hotspot moving across North America), juxtaposd with one that showed the Hawaii hotspot as stationary with the Pacific plate sliding over it, to show that it's really the same thing either way. You just pick the method that makes your map's point for you the best.

Edited by Delvo, 01 March 2003 - 12:32 AM.


#30 Kosh

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 12:44 AM

Caldera cam:

http://www.santorini...ra/calderal.htm

USGS with some nice photos:

http://volcanoes.usg...ry/caldera.html

I've watched the Super Vulcano show on TV more than once, but now I can't recall the name of the caldera that erupted some 70,000 years ago. What ever population there was at the time, it may have taken us down to 1000 people or less. Not all scientist believed the two events were connected, but from what I saw, it looked like there was nothing else in the correct time frame, to have caused so many to die at the same time.



Quote

We are the only species who has ever had the technological capability to do something about asteroid impact. WHY AREN'T WE! Sure it probably won't happen in my lifetime, but it could. Why take that kind of chance when we don't have to?

I saw something on TV about the equipment that the USA uses to keep track of it's long range space probes. IIRC, the scope pciks up anything that comes into it's view, and marks anything that it can't identify, and it has logged tons of asteroids. Seems that if we had enough instalations like this one to cover the sky, we could catch anything long range years before it hit Earth.

Is that a JPL progect?
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#31 Anakam

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 12:58 AM

ChanceVS, on Feb 28 2003, 09:16 PM, said:

sierraleone, on Feb 28 2003, 03:50 PM, said:

Boy is this thread getting derailed†  :hehe:
Yeah, it is, but hey, I knew almost nothing about supervolcanoes until I started reading these posts and visiting the links, so it's not a bad thing...  :)

ChanceVS
Yeah, supervolcanoes rock, and I can actually participate in this thread and sound moderately intelligent, so... :hehe:  I'm enjoying myself too; the whole subject of plate tectonics and volcanism is absolutely fascinating for me, though I usually prefer to study the Cascades. :)

Stops before she derails the thread. ;)
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?" - Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy

#32 Kevin Street

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 01:20 AM

This supervolano thing scares the heck out of me, because Yellowstone isn't that far away from where I live. (It's one state and half a province due south.)

But this thread has been really interesting! :wideeyed:
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#33 sierraleone

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 02:22 AM

^ It sure has, on all accounts. I was thinking of starting a poll thread asking if people would want to know if an asteroid was going to hit Earth during their lifetime ;) :) and why. It seemed quite a controversy at that conference :)
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#34 tennyson

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 09:28 AM

Just wanted to include this link and comment about the end of the article,

http://www.straightd...mns/030228.html

most specifically where it mentions military satellites have detected 136 objects exploding in the upper atmosphere from 1975-1992.
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#35 Delvo

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 06:13 PM

I notice that they didn't bother to include the idea from those Tesla-worshipping quasi-cultists that it was an experiment by Tesla in the śrial transmission of usable electric power. :D (They even claim to have figured out where he was trying to transmit the power from and to, and a straight line over the Earth's surface connecting the two points just "happens to" go right to Tunguska if you extend it, so they say he got too much power to move too far, but didn't know it... the fact that he didn't attempt it again is undoubtably because of some evil conspiracy against him masterminded by the guy who is essentially The Devil, the paragon of all evil, to these people, better known to the rest of us as Thomas Edison...)

#36 QueenTiye

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 06:28 PM

^^  LOL!  Um... o.k..........

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