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Gigantic tsunami

Part of Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites.

D.2.4.4.2. Illustration Asteroid landing in the ocean.jpg

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FREQUENCY: 100,000 OR MORE YEARS

An asteroid with a diameter of one kilometer (0.6 mile) could completely devastate a land area the size of Europe and blanket Earth with dust. But because two-thirds of Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a more likely outcome would be an enormous tsunami, or "tidal wave."

Roughly 1,100 asteroids of this size have Earth-crossing orbits, and