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Natural Hazard – Geo-space Event: South Atlantic Ocean


Largest fireball since Chelyabinsk falls into the ocean: NASA reports huge explosion of seven meter space rock over the Atlantic

Bolide explosion

The bolide exploded in the air 620 miles (1,000km) off the coast of Brazil. Image Source:

The Event took place February 6 at 14:00 UTC, 620 miles off Brazil’s coast
The explosion released a blast equivalent to 13 kt of TNT (40 times less that the Chelyabinsk fireball)

To put this in perspective, [one kiloton equals the explosive power of 1,000 tons of TNT].

There are no equivalent data for the Hiroshima explosion. Equating thermal radiation and blast effects observed at the two cities subsequent to the explosions gives a yield of about 15 kt [at Hiroshima].  Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory report number LA-8819, The yields of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions. Author: Malik, J. S.

See Also
Upshot Knothole: Grable Test (15 kt)  Upshot-Knothole Grable was a nuclear weapons test conducted by the United States as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. Detonation of the associated nuclear weapon occurred shortly after its deployment at 8:30am PDT (1530 UTC) on May 25, 1953, in Area 5 of the Nevada Test Site. It was similar in type to “Little Boy,” the weapon used against Hiroshima; Its yield was estimated at 15 kilotons.  An anomalous feature of the blast was the formation of a precursor, a second shock front ahead of the incident wave. This precursor was formed when the shock wave reflected off the ground and surpassed the incident wave and Mach stem due to a heated ground air layer and the low burst height.

It is likely no one saw it, but may have been picked up by military sensors
Impacts like this happen several times per year, mostly in the ocean

( A huge fireball crashed into the Atlantic earlier this month – and went almost unseen.

The event took place on February 6 at 14:00 UTC when a meteor exploded in the air 620 miles (1,000km) off the coast of Brazil.

It released energy equivalent to 13,000 tons of TNT, which is the same as the energy used in the first atomic weapon that leveled Hiroshima in 1945.

This was the largest event of its type since the February 2013 fireball that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, leaving more than 1,600 people injured.

That fireball measured 18 meters across and screamed into Earth’s atmosphere at 41,600 mph. Much of the debris landed in a local lake called Chebarkul.

The Chelyabinsk fireball had 500,000 tons of TNT energy – 40 times more than the latest impact, according to Phil Plait.

‘As impacts go, this was pretty small,’ Plait writes in an in-depth report in his Slait blog. ‘After all, you didn’t even hear about until weeks after it occurred.

‘Had it happened over a populated area it, would’ve rattled some windows and probably terrified a lot of people, but I don’t think it would’ve done any real damage.’

Ron Baalke, who works for Nasa, first tweeted the event after it appeared on the space agency’s Near-Earth Object Fireball page.

Plait estimates that, given the explosive energy of the most recent fireball, it was likely to be around five to seven meters wide.

The Chelyabinsk fireball had 500,000 tons of TNT energy – 40 times more than the latest impact. More than 1.600 people were injured by flying fragments of glass and rubble

It is unlikely that anyone saw it, but it was probably picked up by the military, who record atmospheric explosions.

‘Impacts like this happen several times per year on average, with most going unseen,’ Plait said.

It’s the much larger impacts that we should be worried about.

Nasa tracks around 12,992 near-Earth objects which have been discovered orbiting within our solar system close to our own orbit.

It estimates around 1,607 are classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.

In September, Paul Chodas, manager of Nasa’s Near-Earth Object office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said: ‘There is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth.

‘In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century.

One such asteroid is 2013 TX68, which poses no threat to Earth, but could get very close to the surface, according to the space agency – although it adds there is a very slim chance of this happening.

See the latest NASA updates at 

[Byline Ellie Zolfagharifard]

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:

Miss Distance
2016 BE
Feb 1
5.9 LD
86 m
2016 BA15
Feb 1
2.9 LD
19 m
2015 XA379
Feb 7
8.1 LD
38 m
2016 BQ
Feb 7
11.1 LD
21 m
2014 QD364
Feb 7
14 LD
16 m
2013 VA10
Feb 8
12.5 LD
165 m
2016 BQ15
Feb 8
8.5 LD
44 m
2014 EK24
Feb 14
13.8 LD
94 m
2010 LJ14
Feb 16
68.5 LD
1.2 km
1999 YK5
Feb 19
51.7 LD
2.0 km
2010 WD1
Feb 22
12.3 LD
22 m
1991 CS
Feb 23
65.5 LD
1.4 km
2011 EH17
Mar 1
11.1 LD
52 m
2013 TX68
Mar 5
0.044 LD
30 m
2001 PL9
Mar 9
77.6 LD
1.2 km
2010 FX9
Mar 19
6.9 LD
62 m
Mar 21
13.9 LD
0 m
2016 BA14
Mar 22
9.2 LD
540 m
1993 VA
Mar 23
59.6 LD
1.6 km
2001 X-D
Mar 28
64.5 LD
1.0 km
2016 BC14
Mar 29
9.9 LD
280 m
2002 AJ29
Apr 6
55.2 LD
1.5 km
2002 EB3
Apr 8
55.6 LD
1.2 km

Notes: LD means “Lunar Distance.” 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach

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