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Space Body Impact to the Earth


Investigation of Wave Processes Dynamics in Point-Antipode of Massive Space Body Impact to the Earth

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Los-Alamos National Laboratory, USA, NM, Los-Alamos\nUniversity of Arizona, USA, AZ, Tucson

Project summary

The objective of the proposed project is to investigate wave process dynamics and conditions for occurrence of amplification of seismic waves amplitudes at the point-antipode of massive space body impact to the Earth. Besides, local destructive effects by space body's impact to the Earth initiate seismic-blasting waves of large intensity. Passing through the Earth, wave field alters due to reflections and refraction along the boundaries of regions with various mechanical properties, multiple reflections from the Earth's surface and refraction in regions with continuous velocity alteration. Large variety of consecutive wave configurations in the vicinity of point-antipode could be expected under such highly complicated wave situation. Among existing configurations of wave fronts those which ensure cumulative mode are of special interest. Inspite of remoteness from impact point due to its geometrical distinction the vicinity of point-antipode could be subjected to mechanical effects of much more intensity than the rest part of the earth's surface. The confirmation of such abnormal effects are relief violations observed at the earth's surface at point-antipodes which are of the same age as the main crater formed by space body impact. Possibly the cumulating mode would occur when a compact region in the earth's crust would be reorganized. By one hypothesis similar processes have led to kimberlite pipe formation. In connection with this detailed investigation of wave fields in the vicinity of point-antipode of massive space body impact to the Earth and conditions for wave cumulating occurrence in this zone is a point of interest.

Stated problem is assumed to be solved in three stages corresponding to basic physically separate stages of considered phenomenon.

1st stage. High velocity impact of massive space body to the earth's surface.
2nd stage. Seismic waves propagation from the source to the whole volume of the terrestrial globe with regard to modern conception of the earth's structure up to appearance of the most intensive modes in the vicinity of point-antipode.
3rd stage. Study of superposition of seismic waves and abnormal processes occurrence in the vicinity of point-antipode.

The main efforts under the project will be calculational and theoretical investigations on the basis of existing and newly developed physical models and codes. To evaluate obtained numerical solutions analytical and semi-analytical methods of solution will be used.

Performance of works under the project would allow obtaining better understanding concerning the formation of the earth's aspect and about the results of future impacts of hazardous space objects to the Earth. The recommendations would be given and the ways of further investigations of the problem mentioned above would be defined. The solution of this problem has independent interest for seismology because global picture of seismic wave fields dynamics is practically similar for earthquake centers of different types: impact, explosive or tectonic origin. More and more scientists from the universities and scientific centers in Europe, United States, Japan and other countries are being involved in investigations in this field. Performance of the works under this project would promote integration of scientists and engineers of high qualification directly connected with development of nuclear weapon to general world investigations. The main scientific results obtained under the project would be published in common press, presented on conferences, symposia, seminars and thus they will become international common property and could be widely used in science and industry.

Potential Role of Foreign Collaborators

The possible areas of collaboration with foreign scientists and specialists are:

- development of mathematical model of the Earth;
- development of analytical methods to solve the problem of seismic wave propagation through the layer systems;
- development of numerical techniques with minimal oscillation properties;
- development of numerical techniques to solve the problem of wave propagation through the layer systems on the base of front tracking;
- analysis of existing data on matter properties and consideration of different scenarios of Near-Earth Object (NEO) impact to the Earth;
- development of new equations of state for rocks;
- problem set-up, calculation performing technique and result analysis;
- informational exchange by the results of efforts concerning this problem.

The proposal has official support from Prof. Tom Gehrels (University of Arizona, USA) and Prof. Gregory H. Canavan (Los Alamos National Laboratory).


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