Know of a good asteroid impact site?

Impact!I am looking for a good place to land an asteroid or a comet. That is to say, my next book is very likely to include the smack-down of a comet or asteroid somewhere on this planet. So I am hereby soliciting your help. Where can I have this space bomb land that will make for a fun and educational rundown of exactly what happens when the big rock hits?

You tell me. You see, I’ve got lots of story ideas about the mighty crash, the heroes and victims and rescues and people shouting OMG! But exactly where this doomsday space rock lands could be up to you.

BigWaveLet’s review previous examples. In the movie Deep Impact, the incoming comet was broken up by a nuclear blast but still sent a big chunk into the Atlantic Ocean to generate a super tidal wave that drowned the entire East Coast of the US, not to mention Europe and Africa. In the science fiction novel Lucifer’s Hammer, things went even worse. The incoming comet broke itself into dozens of chunks and spanned the globe, annihilating most of humanity. And in my own book Blood On The Moon, I described a nine-impact calamity that ended the Age of Dinosaurs.

But let me make it clear I have no intention of repeating these doomsday scenarios. Instead, I would like to give this story a much less gloomy ending and avoid anything too apocalyptical. How about just some very scary scenes within a much smaller zone of devastation, focusing on escape, rescue, and recovery, rather than doom and gloom? We’ve had too much of that already. Geez, in Lucifer’s Hammer, Science Fiction Grand Master Larry Niven went so far as to portray the survivors raising armies to massacre each other, even using organized cannibalism to solve their food shortages. No. No no no no no no no! I’m not going there.

How about a civil disaster where society steps in to help those affected? How about answering questions about how people survive the event and work to restore life to normal? These are much more positive takes on an impact. And I feel they are much more realistic ones. That’s because the odds of a smaller impact are much greater than the odds of world-ending impact. Quite a bit more likely in fact. Just ask any astronomer.

BigHoleSo, in choosing your favorite target area, consider several real-life impacts as examples. In the USA, you have Meteor Crater Arizona, where a mountain-sized space rock smacked into the desert 50,000 years ago making a hole in the ground about a half mile across. That would have been quite a nasty event if any people had been around to see it. Of course, they hadn’t yet crossed the Ice Age land bridge between Russia and Alaska, so the only witnesses and victims were sabertooth tigers and mammoths.

Another real event was the 1908 impact at Tunguska in central Siberia. In this case there were human witnesses, isolated tribespeople who described to Russian scientists a horrific blast in the air above them, and a shock wave that knocked down whole forests of tall trees. Lest the scientists doubt them, they led the Russkies to an area where hundreds of square miles of trees were laid out side by side where the blast had flattened them. In this case no crater was found, probably because the incoming object was an icy comet and not a rocky asteroid.

FlattenedSo you see, smaller but still nasty impact events are much more likely to happen. I plan to write about one of those. But where? I could have it hit in the Antarctic Ocean, but why? It could smack the Arabian Peninsula, but again why choose that place? So here is a ground rule, if you would like to suggest a location for my impact: let’s keep it somewhere in the Pacific Northwest of the good old US of A. And no fair calling it down upon the middle of Seattle or Portland. I won’t write about that much human death and destruction. But somewhere out there in all that territory there has got to be just the right place for an impact that will generate a lot of story excitement, harrowing escapes, thrilling rescues, and–well you get the idea–one of my typical novels where apocalypse threatens but is deflected, minimized, or escaped.

And here’s a special incentive. I’ll consider all suggestions, but for the person with the idea I like best, I’ll happily give you a free copy of any one of my ebooks that you desire. So get to it, and help me write my next novel. You can reply to this post, or visit the Contact Page on my website.

Thanks!

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes Peyton McKean mystery stories and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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One Response to Know of a good asteroid impact site?

  1. Robert Pace says:

    Lake Erie seems like a good spot. A lot of water, but not oceans full.
    Large nearby populations but not megalopolis sized. Affects two countries and cities with substantially different circumstances economically. Enough infrastructure damage to make self-reliance and helping one another essential for some time. Maybe in the winter to add a layer of weather to the crisis.

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