Meteorite Impacts as a Threat to Civilization Imagine that while youre on a peaceful Sunday afternoon stroll with your family, a large dark gray ball comes out of nowhere, just missing the head of your small child, shakes the earth, and produces a large crater in the ground a few feet ahead of you. This ball wasnt from the young boys playing baseball across the street, and it wasnt an acorn from the tree overhead. This ashen ball was a meteorite falling from the sky. A meteorite is a particle from space, large enough to enter the earths atmosphere, and potentially cause damage to the surface of the earth, a house, or a car. Although almost getting struck by a meteorite while outside on a walk is a very rare occurrence, a collision with a meteorite can be fatal. Scientists have never encountered a fatality due to a meteorite, but several deformations in the surface of the earth have been linked to meteorite collisions. A meteorite comes from an asteroid or is a chip off of a moon or other planet. Many times a planet or other solar object is heated beyond capacity and, consequently, explodes thrusting many fragments into the universe. Some of these fragments are large enough to successfully enter the earths atmosphere and hit the surface at amazing speeds. Most meteorites are blasted apart by fire while entering the earths atmosphere. Meteorites are often dark gray or black because of their fiery descent. They are very rough on the outside. They are often identified by scientists by their composition. A meteorite has a very rare element, iridium, present in its makeup. This makes meteorites easy to decipher from surface rocks because all of the earths iridium sank to the core many years ago. Many meteorites are filled with metals that give them a rich magnetic power. Meteorites also contain carbons. Meteorite collision has been responsible for many craters in the surface of the earth, and i…
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