Asteroid impact tsunami of 2880 March 16

Steven N. Ward, Erik Asphaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


NASA scientists have given a 1.1-km diameter asteroid (1950 DA) a 0.0 to 0.3 per cent probability of colliding with the Earth in the year 2880. This article examines a scenario where 1950 DA strikes the sea 600 km east of the United States coast. Travelling at 17.8 km s-1, the asteroid would blow a cavity 19 km in diameter and as deep as the ocean (5 km) at the impact site. Tsunami waves hundreds of metres high would follow as the transient impact cavity collapses. The tsunami disperses quickly; but because the waves are so large initially, destructive energy carries basin-wide. Within two hours of the scenario impact, 100-m waves make landfall from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. Within 12 hours, 20-m waves arrive in Europe and Africa. Water velocity at the deep ocean floor exceeds 1 m s-1 to 800-km distance, strong enough to leave a widespread tsunami signature in the sedimentary record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F6-F10
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroid impact
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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