Effects of an impact event: An analysis of asteroid 1989FC

Tom Gilchrist
Department of Geography, University of Reading
January 2009


It is said that we live in a cosmic shooting gallery, under constant threat of orbital bombardment by the many objects that hurtle through the Solar System at breathtaking speeds each and every day. Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have collided with our planet throughout its existence; more frequently during some time periods than others. Astronomers have discovered over 3000 NEAs of all sizes, including over 1500 NEAs with a diameter greater than 1 km - the so-called extinction event asteroids. The consequences of an impact for our civilization cannot be overstated, yet, as encounters with NEAs are so rare, no government strategy exists to deal with one. This paper considers one of these objects that caught the public eye and attention, and examines what the likely sequence of events would be had that asteroid impacted with the Earth. It also discusses the response to the threat of an impact by those international bodies and scientific agencies that have a remit to negate the hazard.


impact, asteroid, Asclepius, 1989, Earth, detection, E.L.E., hazard

Effects of an impact event: An analysis of asteroid 1989FC by Tom Gilchrist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution

Based on a work at geoverse.brookes.ac.uk.

Original Papers - Geoverse
ISSN 1758-3411
Editor-in-Chief: Professor Helen Walkington