Date sent: Sat, 3 May 1997 09:33:25 +0100 (BST)
From: (Ian Tresman)
Subject: Comet Crash: simulation

Comet Crash: Teraflops Computer Simulates Colossal Comet Impact Into Ocean
Details at:


The simulation starts with the comet 30 kilometers above the surface. The
comet produces a strong luminescent bow shock in the atmosphere as it speeds
downwards. Seven-tenths of a second later it hits the ocean with an impact
energy of 300 gigatons of TNT -- about 10 times the explosive power of all
the nuclear weapons in existence in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War
-- forming a large transient cavity in the ocean and a dent in the ocean
floor. The comet itself is almost instantaneously vaporized, along with 300
to 500 cubic kilometers of ocean. This high-pressure steam explosion rises
into the atmosphere. Comet vapor and water vapor are ejected into ballistic
trajectories that will take it around the globe, with some of it even
achieving escape velocity.

CCCMENU CCC for 1997