A space rock plunging into the Pacific Ocean would spark a tsunami that might wipe out “the complete west coast of North America,” a scientist warned.
Apophis 99942 is a 370-meter-wide near-Earth space rock that caused a short period of concern in December 2004 when initial observation indicated a chance of as much as 3% that it might hit Earth on April 13, 2029. However, in 2006 scientists dominated that date out, determining that Apophis might move by way of a gravitational keyhole – a small area of space where a planet’s gravity is altered. Researchers calculated it’d set up a future effect exactly seven years later – on April 13, 2036.
However, the likelihood of direct impact in 2036 is now all however impossible, with only a 1-in-150,000 chance of a collision in 2068.
Neil deGrasse Tyson warned what would occur if the rock did crash into Earth.
The American astrophysicist and author revealed his analysis throughout a public lecture with Ryan Watt in San Francisco in 2008.
He mentioned: “Within the era of observing the cosmos with technology, this would be the closest biggest thing we will ever see.
“The orbit we now have for it’s uncertain enough because these things are hard to measure, we can’t tell you precisely where that trajectory will be.
“We know it won’t hit Earth. We know it is going to be closer than the orbiting satellites.
“However there’s a 600-mile zone – we call it the keyhole –, and if the asteroid goes through the middle of that, it will hit the Earth 13 years later.
“It’ll hit 500 miles west of Santa Monica.”
He went on to explain how an effect within the ocean would cause a tsunami, including: “If it goes via the center, it will plunge down into the Pacific Ocean to a depth of 3 miles, at which point it explodes, caveating the Pacific in a hole that’s three miles wide.