Can Asteroid Airbursts Cause Dangerous Tsunami?.
I have performed a series of high-resolution hydrocode simulations to generate “source functions” for tsunami simulations as part of a proof-of-principle effort to determine whether or not the downward momentum from an asteroid airburst can couple energy into a dangerous tsunami in deep water. My new CTH simulations show enhanced momentum multiplication relative to a nuclear explosion of the same yield. Extensive sensitivity and convergence analyses demonstrate that results are robust and repeatable for simulations with sufficiently high resolution using adaptive mesh refinement. I have provided surface overpressure and wind velocity fields to tsunami modelers to use as time-dependent boundary conditions and to test the hypothesis that this mechanism can enhance the strength of the resulting shallow-water wave. The enhanced momentum result suggests that coupling from an over-water plume-forming airburst could be a more efficient tsunami source mechanism than a collapsing impact cavity or direct air blast alone, but not necessarily due to the originally-proposed mechanism. This result has significant implications for asteroid impact risk assessment and airburst-generated tsunami will be the focus of a NASA-sponsored workshop at the Ames Research Center next summer, with follow-on funding expected.
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Report Number(s):
- DOE Contract Number:
- Resource Type:
- Technical Report
- Research Org:
- Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
- Sponsoring Org:
- USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
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