Asteroid 2012 DA14 is expected to pass 17,200 miles from Planet Earth today. What would happen if a splinter, say the size of a school bus, broke off and plummeted to earth at 12 miles per second, striking downtown Richmond?
You can get a glimmer from these videos on the Atlantic Cities blog of a kitchen table-sized meteor streaking through the sky near Chelyabinsk, Russia. But a school bus is a lot bigger than a kitchen table. Thanks to the good folks at KillerAsteroids.org, we can simulate the impact, as seen above.
The entire downtown area would be incinerated, and the better part of the city would be subject to a zone where “steel buildings are knocked over.” Tragically, the Third Street Diner, a genuine Richmond landmark, would be consumed in the blast. On a positive note, the entire apparatus of state government — including the General Assembly, if the asteroid hit during the session — would be obliterated. Don’t worry: Yours truly resides safely outside the blast zone, so Bacon’s Rebellion would continue publishing.