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Near-Earth object velocity distributions and consequences for the Chicxulub impactor
 

Summary: Near-Earth object velocity distributions and consequences for the
Chicxulub impactor
S. V. Jeffers,1,2
S. P. Manley,1
M. E. Bailey1P
and D. J. Asher1
1
Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG
2
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS
Accepted 2001 May 25. Received 2001 May 9; in original form 2000 October 27
A B S T R AC T
An OĻ pik-based geometric algorithm is used to compute impact probabilities and velocity
distributions for various near-Earth object (NEO) populations. The resulting crater size
distributions for the Earth and Moon are calculated by combining these distributions with
assumed NEO size distributions and a selection of crater scaling laws. This crater probability
distribution indicates that the largest craters on both the Earth and the Moon are dominated by
comets. However, from a calculation of the fractional probabilities of iridium deposition, and
the velocity distributions at impact of each NEO population, the only realistic possibilities for
the Chicxulub impactor are a short-period comet (possibly inactive) or a near-Earth asteroid.

  

Source: Armagh Observatory

 

Collections: Physics