KEY POINTS

  • NASA is monitoring a kilometer-sized asteroid that could hit Earth
  • Scientists believe 29075 (1950 DA) will hit the Atlantic Ocean
  • The impact event would trigger towering tsunamis

In a new study, scientists were able to identify the Atlantic Ocean as the likely impact zone of the planet-killer asteroid that NASA is currently monitoring. The scientists warned that the impact would generate towering tsunamis that would affect the rest of the world.

The asteroid that scientists focused on in their study is known as 29075 (1950 DA). This asteroid is currently being monitored by NASA’s Sentry, an automated system that tracks near-Earth objects that are in danger of colliding with the planet.

Currently, 29075 (1950 DA) is the largest asteroid featured in Sentry’s list. According to the data collected by NASA, it has an estimated diameter of about 1.3 kilometers. This means the asteroid is big enough to cause a major impact event on Earth and trigger mass extinctions.

Based on the asteroid’s current trajectory, Sentry predicted that 29075 (1950 DA) might hit Earth on March 16, 2880. The system noted that the asteroid could collide with the planet with an impact velocity of 17.8 kilometers per second, which is equivalent to over 40,000 miles per hour.

In a study conducted by the professors Steven Ward and Erik Asphaug, the scientists warned that if an impact event happens on 2880, the asteroid could hit the Atlantic Ocean, The scientists noted that this kind of impact scenario would generate destructive tsunamis.

“Travelling at 17.8 km/s, the asteroid would blow a cavity 19 kilometers in diameter and as deep as the ocean (5 kilometers) at the impact site,” they wrote in their study, according to Express. “Tsunami waves hundreds of meters 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.”

According to the scientists, if the asteroid hits the Atlantic Ocean, massive waves would hit the U.S. coast. Then, after a few hours, the tsunamis caused by the impact event would reach other places on Earth.

“Within two hours of the scenario impact, 100m waves make landfall from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras,” the scientists stated. “Within 12 hours, 20-meter waves arrive in Europe and Africa.”