The consequences of the fall of an asteroid or comet depend on their size and mass. If the body diameter is more than 1 km, then this can lead to a global environmental disaster. If the dimensions are smaller, then the destruction will not be as fatal. Craters are formed at the site of the fall, fires may occur, buildings will be destroyed. If the place of the fall is a forest, then a significant fall of the forest will occur.
The scenario and consequences of such an event as the fall of a cosmic body to Earth, of course, depends on many factors. Let’s list the main ones:
Space body size
This factor is, of course, a top priority. Armageddon on our planet can arrange a meteorite measuring 20 kilometers, so in this post we will consider scenarios for the fall of cosmic bodies on the planet from a speck of dust to 15-20 km. More – it makes no sense, since in this case the scenario will be simple and obvious.
Small bodies of the solar system can have different compositions and densities. Therefore, there is a difference whether a stone or iron meteorite falls to the Earth, or a loose comet nucleus consisting of ice and snow. Accordingly, in order to cause the same destruction, the comet’s nucleus must be two to three times larger than the asteroid fragment (at the same falling velocity).
It is also a very important factor in the collision of bodies. After all, there is a transition of kinetic energy of motion into heat. And the speed of entry of cosmic bodies into the atmosphere can differ several times (approximately, from 12 km / s to 73 km / s, for comets – even more).
The slowest meteorites are those catching up with the Earth or being overtaken by it. Accordingly, those flying towards us will add up their speed to the Earth’s orbital speed, pass through the atmosphere much faster, and the explosion from their impact on the surface will be many times more powerful.
Where will it fall
At sea or on land. It is difficult to say in which case the destruction will be greater, it is just that everything will be different.
A meteorite can fall on a nuclear weapons storage site or a nuclear power plant, then the harm to the environment can be greater from radioactive contamination than from a meteorite impact (if it was relatively small).